admin @ September 30, 2016
Can you believe fall is already here? The kids are back in the classroom and the trees are quickly turning yellow and gold. This week we have details on how young people can learn the ins and outs of law enforcement and we say hello to the new principal at Service High School.
APD Youth Academy
Is your son or daughter interested in a law enforcement career? The Anchorage Police Department is holding its Pathway to Policing Youth Academy for high school juniors and seniors from October 26th to the 28th at Anchorage School District Headquarters and the Anchorage Police Department Training Academy. The 20 hour program immerses students in what police officers actually do and the career opportunities that are available for qualified men and women.
Students will not miss any classes because the academy is scheduled during the district’s half days and in-service days. No more than 30 slots are available and will be filled on a first come first served basis. The application form is due Monday, September 19.
For more information, contact Jennifer Castro at 786-8571.
We want to extend a big welcome to new Service High School Principal Frank Hauser! Service has a long history of great principals and we know Mr. Hauser will continue that tradition during his tenure at Service.
Football season is in high gear and the Cougars are fielding two teams with great student athletes. The boys and girls teams are visiting Dimond on Saturday where the Lady Cougars will kick off at noon and the boys take to the field two hours later. We will keep you up to date on as many Service athletic teams as possible throughout the school year. If anyone has some information to share with us about the student athletes please send it our way at firstname.lastname@example.org
Abbott Road Project Update
Abbott Road between Elmore and Sahalee Drive will be CLOSED starting tonight, Friday, September 16 from 8:00 p.m. through 5:00 a.m. Monday, September 19. Access to Carlson Road and Jupiter Drive will be maintained during the closure, just keep an eye for the detour signs.
If you would like to receive email updates on the Abbott Road rehabilitation project, just send an email to AbbottRoad@spawnak.com
We will be back next time with how the school year is shaping up and lots more community news. As always, we are happy to include any information that comes our way so just give us a call at 269-0222.
admin @ September 16, 2016
Can you believe it is already August? We hope your summer is going well and are prepared for cooler weather that is right around the corner. Meanwhile, we are responding to questions and concerns about the ongoing Abbott Road Project so let us know if you need any additional information and we will get some answers for you as soon as possible.
Abbott Road Project Update
We recently spoke to the project management team at the Alaska Department of Transportation about the Abbott Road Project. The good news is construction is right on schedule and it should be substantially completed by the end of October. The bad news is that between now and Halloween, expect up to six more nights of paving work starting in mid-September.
We sympathize with those of you living near the construction zone who must deal with the noise and disruption that come with having bulldozers and dump trucks right outside your front door. Keep in mind that when it is finished the road will be much safer for drivers, pedestrians and bikers. Abbott Road has the highest crash rate of the five major hillside roads so it is important to rebuild the road and get it done as quickly as possible.
If you have any questions, please give DOT Construction Project Manager Bob Anderson a call at 269-0450.
House Bill 200
House Bill 200 was signed into law a few days ago. It improves and streamlines legal proceedings for children in Alaska’s foster care system so they can be placed in families earlier and with fewer legal proceedings. I am a proud co-sponsor the bill because placing children with relatives is frequently the best option for children whose parents, for whatever reason, are not able to care for them.
Back to School
Believe it or not, the morning school bells will be ringing in just a matter of days. The first day of school for 2nd through 12th grades is Monday, August 22, the first day of school for K-1st grade is Monday, August 29. The Anchorage School District webpage is packed with all the information you need from when and where to register for school to suggestions for school supplies. Go to http://www.asdk12.org/backtoschool/ for the details.
Thanks once again for reading our blog page, we try to keep everyone up to date on our legislative activities and community news. If you have any suggestions on how to make our blog page better, please send an email to email@example.com or call 269-0222.
admin @ August 2, 2016
admin @ July 15, 2016
Protecting Alaska’s Children
This month the governor signed HB 308. The new law expands the correct use of car seats by limiting the liability of volunteer Child Passenger Safety Technicians (CPST’s). Alaska is fortunate to have CPST’s as a resource to help install and teach the correct installation of car seats, as a car seat can be the difference between life and death in the event of an accident.
Increasing the number of CPST’s will help keep children more secure in their safety seats. Good legislation is always a team effort, The Alaska Child Passenger Safety Coalition, along with first responders, doctors, and safety volunteers from across the state joined the legislature in supporting this important legislation.
Do 1 Thing
The Anchorage Office of Emergency Management is encouraging all Alaskans to create a Family Communication Plan. The ability to reach loved ones in the aftermath of a disaster as soon as possible will be a must, but if the power grid fails, cell phone service, the internet and other forms of electronic communication could be unavailable.
The Do 1 Thing Organization has four important steps to creating a Family Communication Plan:
- Have a phone with a cord and a car charger for your cell phone standing by in case of a power failure
- Develop a plan for how your family will stay in touch during a disaster
- Program In Case of Emergency (ICE) numbers into all family cell phones
These few simple steps are the first steps to take in creating a communications plan. For more emergency preparedness information please go to http://do1thing.com/
Abbott Road Closure
Abbott Road between Little Creek Drive and Little Brook Street will be closed from 9:00 p.m. Friday, July 8 to 5:00 a.m. Monday, July 11 to install a fish passage culvert. Please look for detour signs that will be posted on Abbott Road. The road project is on schedule and could be completed by November. For more information call the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities at 644-0431.
The special session starts next week, our office will keep you posted through our Facebook page, Twitter page and this blog page with the latest from the state capitol.
We hope you summer is going well!
admin @ July 7, 2016
Our office wanted to update you on Governor Walker’s recent announcement of vetoes to the Fiscal Year 2017 compromise budget. Before approving the operating and capital budgets for the state, the Governor made significant reductions to items including K-12 education, the University of Alaska, and the Department of Corrections.
Both the House and Senate have been working for years to reduce the size and footprint of government, and have made significant progress over the last two years. There is no doubt that we need to live within our means, and unfortunately when revenue is at the levels we see today, uncomfortable, difficult cuts must be considered.
Here is a quick summary of some of the vetoes announced today:
- K-12 foundation funding – $6.35 million
- One-time funding to school districts – $4.7 million
- School debt reimbursement – $30 million
- Rural school construction – $10.4 million
- Oil and gas tax credits: cut $430 million, leaving $30 million in the budget (the $430 million will need to be paid next year)
- Permanent Fund Dividend: cut in half – $666.35 million – leaving an estimated $1,000 dividend for 2016
- Public radio broadcasting – $750,000
- Tourism marketing – $3 million
- Correctional and Community Residential Centers – $3.5 million
- Parents as Teachers program – $200,000
- Workforce Development Grants – $502,400
- Childcare Benefits – $1 million
- Online with Libraries program – $100,000
- Tourism Marketing – $3 million
- University of Alaska – $10 million
Total amount of vetoes made by the Governor: $1,289,237,700
The Governor also vetoed the continuation of several road projects in the state, including the U-Med bypass road in Midtown Anchorage and the Glenn Highway, Hiland Road to Artillery Road reconstruction. He additionally has stated he is “closing down” the Knik Arm Bridge project, as well as the Susitna-Watana project.
Some of these reductions are worrisome and un-vetted, however it is within the Governor’s power to make changes to the budget passed by both Republicans and Democrats this spring. We will continue to work with the Governor to be sure that these vetoes don’t jeopardize the quality of our children’s education, our public safety, and the wellbeing of our communities. Your input is as important as ever, as we evaluate the Governor’s vetoes, and we hope that you will reach out with any comments or concerns about his changes to the budget.
To see the specific details of the vetoes, you can visit the Office of Management and Budget’s website.
Before we go, The National Weather Service just issued a heavy rain warning for Southcentral Alaska on Thursday. The heaviest rainfall will occur in the Mat-Su and Copper River Valleys, while Anchorage could also see significant rainfall amounts. Please look out for ponding on roads and bike paths throughout the city and if a road is flooded just turn around – do NOT try and cross any roadway that is underwater. For more information go to http://pafc.arh.noaa.gov/
Have a safe holiday weekend,
admin @ June 29, 2016
Interior Bill will prioritize clean-up of long polluted wells
Wednesday, June 15, 2016, Juneau, Alaska –House Majority Leader Charisse Millett applauded the leadership of U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski in introducing the Fiscal Year 2017 Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, which addresses a wide range of challenges, needs, and opportunities in Alaska. This bill places importance on cleaning up dozens of exploration wells and core tests that were drilled decades ago that remain abandoned in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska, among many other important issues to Alaskans. Along with Murkowski, Millett has worked throughout her time in office to force the federal government to take responsibility for the clean-up of these wells, including sponsoring resolutions passed in 2012 and 2013, as well as testifying before the U.S. Congress.
“It’s outrageous, first off, that the wells have been pushed from the government’s conscious for this long,” Millett, R-Anchorage, said. “We’ve asked, legislatively, through unanimous resolutions, for the Bureau of Land Management to do its job and clean up and shut in these wells properly. I am proud that Alaska’s Senator, Lisa Murkowski, has continued to show leadership on this issue and is asking the federal government to commit resources to fixing this problem.”
Murkowski’s bill doubles the requested funding for legacy well cleanup in Fiscal Year 2017, and further directs the Bureau of Land Management to craft a long-term funding plan to complete the clean-up of the wells. This bill’s commitment of funds for future planning and important repairs to the lingering problem of the unplugged and environmentally harmful wells makes enormous strides towards getting the federal government to adhere to the state’s environmental standards and appropriate the money and workers to solve this massive ecological problem.
# # #
admin @ June 23, 2016
Today in Juneau the Alaska House held a floor session and the House Labor & Commerce and Finance Committees held meetings on bills listed on the special session agenda. We will continue to provide regular updates for you as the special session progresses.
Since our last update, the House and Senate have both held multiple meetings on bills requested by the Governor, and have held floor sessions. The Legislature passed another one of the bills on the special session call today, House Bill 374. This bill would protect Alaskans from extreme insurance policy rate hikes, which would occur as a result of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). By making changes to our reinsurance code, insurers will better be able to spread their risk and keep prices low for Alaskans – especially those deemed “high risk”.
The House Finance Committee met both Thursday and Friday to discuss tax proposals introduced by the Governor, and a change to the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority’s infrastructure funding. The Finance Committee moved three of the Governor’s tax bills from committee, including tax hikes on fishing, mining, and motor fuels, not because the members support the measures necessarily, but to allow the full House to be able to vote them up or down. The Governor’s income tax proposal is still being evaluated by the committee.
The House Labor and Commerce Committee continued its work on House Bill 4002, which would provide the families of public safety killed in the line of duty with health coverage. This was a bill that our office sponsored, and we have been closely tracking this most recent iteration. Tomorrow, Saturday June 4th, the House Labor and Commerce Committee will be taking public testimony on this bill at 11:00 a.m. Stop by the nearest LIO or call in to (907) 465-4648 to share your thoughts. We will continue to keep you posted as this bill moves through the process.
Tomorrow the House will also meet again in session at 1:00 p.m. You can always follow floor session online at akl.tv
Anchorage School Board
Students are enjoying their summer break but the Anchorage School Board remains on duty all year long. Here are two items on the agenda for the Monday night meeting.
- A resolution in support of locating municipal ballot drop boxes on certain school district sites. Starting in 2017, Anchorage voters will mail their ballots to city hall, or leave ballots at designated drop boxes for all local elections.
- Accepting a grant award for suicide awareness, prevention, and postvention grant (A postvention is an intervention conducted after a suicide to support family and friends left behind)
Monday’s meeting gets underway at 6:30 p.m. at ASD Headquarters, 5530 East Northern Lights Blvd.
The fish are biting in rivers, lakes and streams all across Southcentral Alaska so now is the time to get out and start catching fish. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game has a really informative website http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/index.cfm?adfg=fishingSport.main with detailed information about regulations and fish counts so you can see where your odds are best to catch the big one.
We will be back Monday with another update on the special session. Get out and enjoy the summer and have a great weekend.
admin @ June 3, 2016
This is a quick update on goings-on down here in Juneau during special session and in Anchorage as well. The House and Senate came to a landmark compromise yesterday and approved the FY 17 operating budget and capital budget, in addition to passing two other important policies. While lawmakers still have several pieces of legislation remaining on the special session agenda, we are hopeful that the people’s business can be completed soon.
This year’s budget has been one of the most challenging pieces of policy most legislators have faced in their careers. With the sudden and steep drop in oil prices, Alaska’s primary source of revenue was pulled right out from under us. This has resulted in the need to look at serious and lasting reductions to the size of government, and the level of services that the state can afford. It’s fair to say that no two legislators have the same exact idea of how the budget should look, and during this fiscally straining time, no two had the exact same idea of what to cut, save, or streamline. This resulted in hard-fought budget negotiations over the course of the session and special session.
The budget the Legislature passed yesterday truly embodies the principle of compromise. No one got everything they wanted – some wanted substantially more money added back in, and many still feel that there are ways to reduce government’s footprint and find efficiencies in the way we provide state services. However, our Constitution requires that we strike a balance and bring together this diverse group of legislators from every corner of the state to pass a budget.
Here are a few highlights from this year’s compromise budget:
Total state spending is reduced over $1.5 Billion or 7.1%
- Public education is fully funded
- The Capital Budget leverages federal funds to keep Alaskans at work maintaining our infrastructure
- Reductions are made to state services that were duplicated by the private sector, unfilled positions, unsuccessful programs, and other areas
- Avoids the need to send out pink slips to state employees or shutdown government
The Governor has said that he will wait to sign this compromise budget until he feels the Legislature has vetted his tax and credit proposals and Permanent Fund plan.
Other Legislation Passed
Yesterday two other pieces of important legislation passed the Legislature that will positively improve the ways we protect and provide for our state’s children.
House Bill 200, which deals with the Indian Child Welfare Act, would benefit children in State Custody by assuring that adoption proceedings for children in need of aid are conducted in the manner most beneficial to the child and their family. This would include a provision that would allow for a single court and a single judge to preside over the proceeding in its entirety, and for a proxy to be used in a formal petition to adopt. This measure was previously passed by the House, and after being passed by the Senate yesterday, will now go on to be signed by the Governor.
House Bill 27 also passed both bodies yesterday, and provides protections and additional rights for youth in foster care. The goals of this bill are to reduce the amount of time children wait for permanent housing, to ensure that foster children are prepared to leave the foster program, to allow children to remain in a stable school, to recruit and retain more foster parents, and to ensure that placements with relatives are sought when a child is moved to a new OCS placement. The passage of this bill will do great things for our foster youth and communities, and it now heads to the Governor’s desk for his signature.
Now that the Legislature has passed a compromise budget, we will continue to meet on the other items on the Governor’s special session agenda. Today in Juneau, the House Labor and Commerce Committee met and discussed House Bill 4002, which would provide major medical coverage for the surviving spouses and children of peace officers and firefighters. The House Finance Committee met and discussed some of the Governor’s tax proposals, including mining taxes, motor fuel taxes and fisheries taxes. The House Resources Committee also met and passed House Bill 246 out of committee, which would create an oil and gas infrastructure development program and the oil and gas infrastructure development fund in the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority (AIDEA).
Tomorrow, we will have more meetings in the House and Senate, and throughout this special session, our office will keep you posted on the Legislature’s activities. Thank you so much for your engagement and every call, email, and visit to our office. We are continually grateful to have such an involved community.
Look for our next update later this week!
Now, here are a few events in our community:
The Anchorage Assembly meets this Tuesday with a lengthy agenda of items to consider. Here are two proposed ordinances the board will take up that evening starting at 5:00 p.m.
- An ordinance prohibiting smoking and “vaping” in Town Square Park including adjacent Alaska Center for the Performing Arts property right-of-ways and walkways
- An ordinance permitting the Anchorage Assembly, by resolution, to order a recount of votes from any particular precinct, or for any particular office proposition or question; and to permit, but not require, the Anchorage Municipal Clerk to conduct a recount when, in the judgment of the Municipal Clerk, a recount may increase voter confidence in the election
Are you and your family prepared in the event of a disaster? It is an important question that we all need to discuss with our loved ones. The Anchorage Office of Emergency Management is reminding everyone about the Do 1 Thing Program, a monthly roadmap to preparing your family for an emergency.
For June, the Do 1 Thing Program recommends making a list of special things your family might need in the event of a disaster. Every household is different. Is there an infant or young child in your home? Does someone in your family have a medical condition that requires medication? Do you have a pet? Ask the questions, make a list and get prepared before disaster strikes.
Check out the organization’s website for more details at http://do1thing.com
We are sending out posts more frequently between now and the end of the special session to keep you as informed as possible. Do not forget to check out our social media pages for late breaking news. Our Twitter page is @RepMillett and on Facebook at facebook.com/representativemillett
Thanks again for all your support!
admin @ June 1, 2016
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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org No one could ask for better weather this holiday weekend so take the family out and enjoy it!
admin @ May 27, 2016