Archive for the ‘General’ Category

Update for June 7, 2017

Wednesday, June 7th, 2017

Hello from Juneau on the 21st day of Special Session. Apologies for the gap between our updates, but as you may have read or heard in the news, there has not been very much movement here in the Capitol. This has honestly been a very frustrating time, and tensions are certainly very high. However, I do remain hopeful that compromise can be found and that we can avoid a government shutdown.

Constituent Coffee: Thank You!

Thank you so much to the 35 people who were able to make it to my constituent coffee over Memorial Day Weekend! It was so wonderful to sit down and talk with friends and neighbors about some of the issues we’re faced with here in Juneau. I enjoyed hearing updates from our community on what’s been happening in Anchorage this spring. It was additionally helpful to witness firsthand the construction work along on Brayton and surrounding areas. I heard from many of you that the signage and directions offered by the Department of Transportation’s team has been helpful. Please keep me posted if improvements still need to be made.

If you weren’t able to make it, I hope you’ll stay in touch about ideas and concerns you might have. My office is here for you!

Special Session Update

Like I said before, there has not been very much action here in the Capitol. This week we have had one meeting of the Conference Committee on the budget, and expect to have at least one more before Friday. These meetings will hopefully settle the budgets for 4 out of 18 departments, which chips away at the outstanding items for a full budget to be passed. This progress makes me hopeful, but still leaves a lot of work to accomplish before the special session is over.

Outside of the budget, the only committee action has been a solely informational House Finance meeting (held today) on the differences between the House and Senate’s oil tax legislation. During this time, many legislators have chosen to be home while they wait for progress. One of the questions I’ve been asked a fair amount is whether my colleagues and I are taking per diem while we are not in Juneau. I, for one, have not taken per diem while I’ve been away from the Capitol, and will continue not taking any per diem when not working in Juneau.

Governor’s Proposal

I appreciate the Governor putting forward a plan that he and his team knew would not be embraced with open arms. I don’t agree with everything in his package, nor does anyone in the Legislature at this point. Though I do think he demonstrated to many in this building that compromising means having tough conversations that might not get you everything you want. As evidenced by responses from some after his plan was presented, there are still legislators who believe a “win-win” is them getting exactly what they want, and never having to give. Is the Governor’s plan going to be accepted whole-cloth? Probably not. But what it does prove is that it is possible, if hard work is done, to come up with a settlement.

From Service to the Moon!

NASA recently announced the selection of 11 new astronaut candidates for the class of 2017, out of a record 18,300 applicants. Among those 18,300 was long-time Alaskan Robb Kulin, a graduate of Service High School in 2001! To read the full story about this exciting news for Robb and his family, click here!

Way to go Robb! You make Alaska incredibly proud and we know you’ll succeed in your future trainings and missions!

Hanshew Teaching Duo Shines!

Principal Nancy Brain of Hanshew Middle School recently provided my office this news alert regarding two outstanding teachers in our community:

Great news – a Hanshew teaching duo are 2017 Denali Award Recipients. The award is the highest District honor given to employees.

Individually they are great teachers, but together they are like lightning in a bottle. That’s how Hanshew Middle School Principal Nancy Brain describes teachers Katie Weidemaier and Leah Dubber.

Weidemaier and Dubber took the initiative to start two new eighth-grade pre-AP courses at Hanshew. Working together, they wrote a course curriculum infusing AP strategies into eighth-grade language arts and social studies. The content focuses on high-level reading, writing, research, and text analysis.

Weidemaier is described as a visionary language arts teacher who continually seeks new ways to engage her students and expand their learning. She works closely with multiple state and community organizations to further educational opportunities at her school. She has been instrumental in developing the middle school debate program at Hanshew and across the District.

Dubber continually takes advantage of learning opportunities to engage and challenge her students. Each year, her students compete in the “We the People” Middle School Invitational. This program provides an avenue for students to learn the historical and philosophical foundations of our country’s ideas about the creation of the Constitution.

A parent said, “At a time when schools are being asked to do more with less, these two astonishing teachers engage, inspire, and stir passion for knowledge.”

Leah and Katie are two of the most creative, hardworking, student-centered teachers I have ever had the pleasure of working with.

Nancy Brain

Principal, Hanshew Middle School

Way to go Katie and Leah! You make District 25, and our community proud!

Seward Highway Progress

Below is the weekly update provided by the Alaska Department of Transportation on the Seward Highway Dimond to Dowling project.

ROAD CLOSURE: Brayton Drive is CLOSED to all traffic, from Dimond Boulevard to 68th Avenue. Residents can access the northbound Seward Highway by using Sandlewood Place and Lore Road as an alternate DETOUR route. In addition, Sandlewood Place, Meadow Street and 68th Avenue should be used as a Brayton Drive business access DETOUR route.

NEW TRAFFIC PATTERN: Southbound Seward Highway traffic has shifted from the Seward Highway to Homer Drive, which now acts the southbound Seward Highway. Be alert to a reduced speed limit of 45 MPH throughout the construction zone.

FUTURE TRAFFIC PATTERN: Beginning Friday, June 9, northbound Seward Highway traffic will be shifted from the Seward Highway to Brayton Drive, which will now act as the northbound Seward Highway. Be alert to a reduced speed limit of 45 MPH throughout the construction zone.

Please note that no side road access will be permitted to and from the Homer Drive and Brayton Drive frontage roads during construction.

  • Work will be in effect 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, through mid-October, in order to expedite the construction process.
  • To receive email updates about this project, email SewardDowlingDimond@spawnak.com.

 

Juneau Update for May 22, 2017

Monday, May 22nd, 2017

Special Session in Juneau

After butting up against the Constitutionally-mandated 121-day deadline, the Legislature was called by the Governor into a special session in Juneau.

These are the items Governor Walker would like to see passed this special session:

  • Broad-based tax, like an income tax
  • Motor fuels tax
  • Permanent Fund Restructure
  • Oil and gas tax credit reform
  • Operating, Capital and Mental Health Budgets
  • A bill related to the prescription and monitoring of opioids

This has been a particularly frustrating legislative session, filled with gridlock and lack of compromise. However, I view this special session as an opportunity to set aside our differences and tackle the issues on which there is agreement. I am hopeful this special session results in meaningful progress towards fiscal solutions for Alaska, a sustainable budget, changes to our tax credit system, and a cap on future government growth. We will keep you posted as the session moves forward!

Office Changes

My office, going into the summer and fall, will be undergoing some changes. In light of budget constraints facing our state, I will be reducing my staff by 1/3. Grace Abbott and Hans Rodvik in my office will be staying on and will continue to work hard to help us get our work done, answer your questions, and brainstorm ideas to help our community and Alaska. They are ready and willing to pick up a little extra slack, as many of us are doing right now, and are just as enthusiastic of public servants as ever. Stop by the office and introduce yourself, or give us a shout at 465-3879!

Ridesharing for Alaska

Before the end of the extended regular session, I was incredibly proud to vote in favor of bringing transportation network companies, like Lyft and Uber, to our state. Both residents and visitors have been asking the Legislature to bring Alaska into the 21st century and allow these companies to operate here. Our state faces any number of transportation obstacles, and we can use all the help we can get in improving access to rides. Thank you to everyone who wrote us in support of this job-creating policy – we received more letters, emails and calls in support from constituents on ridesharing than any other issue this year! I am excited to see the increased transportation opportunities that this bill will bring to Alaska, as well as the new employment opportunities. Start downloading your favorite ridesharing app today!

Education Funding

Many of you, both in District 25 and outside, have been asking the Legislature to pass a budget that funds education to at least last year’s level. I can tell you that personally, I agree. While our budget climate requires reductions and changes be made to the way our state spends, a successful future depends on our providing for education. I believe if we ensure some stability for districts this year, educators and administrators will be better enabled to produce efficiencies and improvements in education delivery. Without the stress of reducing their workforce this summer, districts can focus more on addressing budget challenges and innovating to reduce the effects of reduced revenue on classrooms.

In no way do I believe that those who would like to see our education budget reduced this year want to diminish outcomes or depreciate our public schools. We have a budget crisis on our hands, and looking through our school districts’ budgets, there appear to be more ways that spending could be scaled back or duplication reduced. It is simply my personal belief that if we hold school funding as harmless as possible this year, our results will be better down the road. I will be advocating for this position both in my caucus, and to my colleagues in the House and Senate. Please reach out with any questions or ideas on how we can improve our students’ experiences.

Abbott Loop Community Council

This Thursday, the 26th at 6:30pm the Abbott Loop Community Council is holding its May meeting. The meeting will take place at Abbott Loop Elementary, which is located 8427 Lake Otis Parkway. Community Council meetings are a great way to meet more of your neighbors, and get to know what is going on in your local area! I encourage you to go and look forward to seeing you at the next meeting when I’m home from Juneau!

School Is Out!

The last day of school for all Anchorage School District schools, is this Wednesday May 24th! I hope everyone has a safe, fun and productive summer! Congratulations to all the students who had another successful year!

Update for May 2, 2017

Tuesday, May 2nd, 2017

Update from the Capitol

We’re now in Day 106 of the Legislative session. Things are a bit slow going as we continue to inch towards the session’s 120-day constitutional deadline. There will be meetings all of this week going over certain implications of revenue generation plans, and other bills will continue to be heard in committee. If you’re interested in following along, the Legislature has good resources and tools on our website www.akleg.gov. There you can watch live meetings, see the daily schedule of hearings, and find a list of bills that will be considered on the House and Senate floors. We encourage you to check it out!

As always, if you have questions or thoughts you’d like to share on any issues before the Legislature or in our community, please feel free to give our office a call or send an email.

 

Cougars in the News

We were so proud to see the Service Boys’ Soccer team highlighted in the paper last week! Check out the story on their victory over Juneau!

https://www.adn.com/sports/high-school-sports/2017/04/26/cougars-pounce-on-juneau-for-nonconference-soccer-win/

Community Events

The next two weeks in our community promises to be a busy time. This Thursday, May 4th at 4pm, Trailside and Kasuun Elementary will be holding their PTA meetings. Next week our Service Cougars and Hanshew Hawks will have their PTA meetings. The Service PTA gathers on Tuesday the 9th at 6pm, while the Hanshew PTA meets on Monday the 8th at 6pm. Looking forward towards the end of the month, the Abbott Loop Community Council has its monthly meeting planned for Thursday May 25th, from 6:30-8:30pm at Abbott Loop Elementary.

 

Earthquake Safety

Yesterday morning, residents of Juneau and those of us working here in the Capitol City, were awakened by not one, but two earthquakes with magnitudes over 6.0. We are so grateful that no one was hurt and that infrastructure remained intact, but mornings like this serve as a good reminder that here in Alaska, earthquakes are never out of the question. To give you and your family some peace of mind, you can take measures to prepare for emergencies like an earthquake. The Red Cross has some good information, as does the State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management on how you can prepare for an earthquake.

Seward Highway Project Update

As of last Wednesday, Homer Drive is CLOSED to all traffic, from Dimond Boulevard to 68th Avenue. 68th Avenue will remain open during this time to traffic, and the Old Seward Highway will act as a main business access and DETOUR route. To stay apprised of what is happening with the project click here to subscribe to DOT’s newsletter email list.

Update for April 24, 2017

Monday, April 24th, 2017

Go Cougars!

A little soccer spotlight this week! District 25’ers should be celebrating our Service Lady Cougar Soccer Team, finishing last week’s games with a 10-1 win over Bartlett, a 4-1 win over East, and a tie-game with Dimond. We are beyond proud of these talented, motivated student athletes, and have a lot of hope for their continued success. They also have a great Twitter page, which you can use to stay up to date on games and schedules – follow @SHS_WSOC. Good luck ladies!

 

Budget Update

Here in Juneau, we are still waiting on the House Majority to name their conference committee members to begin the budget negotiation process. If you aren’t familiar with conference committees, they are committees comprised of members from the House and Senate that meet to go over differences and strike compromise when the two bodies have passed different versions of a certain bill.

In this case, the House and Senate both passed different budgets, and thus will have to work together to find common ground that both bodies can agree upon. For a conference committee on the budget to begin, House leadership must name their members. For 13 days we have been waiting for the House Majority to appoint representatives, and are hopeful action will be taken soon. Passing a budget is the Legislature’s one constitutionally mandated duty, and Alaskans are relying on us to provide essential services to protect safety and health.

 

Public Testimony on Income Taxes

The Senate Labor and Commerce Committee is holding public testimony on House Bill 115 – the income tax bill supported by the House Majority and Governor. Public testimony is slated for 5:00pm on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday of this week. Below is the information on how to make your voice heard!

Senate LABOR & COMMERCE Committee  

Apr 25, 26, 27 at 5:00 PM

HB 115 INCOME TAX; PFD PAYMENT/CREDIT

Statewide Public Testimony —   — Public Testimony Limited to 2 Minutes   

  Please Sign-in at Your Local LIO No Later Than 6:30pm

Contact by Phone: 907-465-4968

From my perspective, implementing an income tax is premature and unnecessary when we know the budget can be balanced and a stable revenue stream can be used without taxing Alaskans and hurting our already struggling economy. As policymakers, we have been told time and time again that tipping the scale too much and implementing too many changes this year could drive our state further into a recession. I believe we need to have a thoughtful approach – balanced spending reductions, asset restructuring and a tighter spending cap. An income tax is just too heavy a burden on Alaskans and businesses this year.

 

House Bill 111 – Oil Taxes and Credits

Last week, the Senate Resources Committee held public testimony for the first time on the version of HB 111 that passed the House. Alaskans spoke loud and clear: they do not want taxes changed or raised on our state’s most vital industry that has been in a downturn since 2015 due to low oil prices. 47 Alaskans spoke against HB 111, while 11 spoke in favor of it. Many commented on the fact that SB 21 is clearly working (even with low prices): if trends hold – production through TAPS will have increased two years in a row (something that hasn’t happened since the 1980s), new fields have been discovered, and major investments have occurred since 2013. The picture below is from ConocoPhillips, showing the activities that company has engaged in following the passage of SB 21.

Consultants testified that raising taxes at low prices – a large piece of HB 111 – would negatively impact investment levels, production and jobs for Alaskans. Oil from new fields, such as those discovered by Caelus, ConocoPhillips and Repsol costs $10-20 more per barrel to develop, than oil from legacy fields like Prudhoe Bay. Increasing government take (which accounts for all taxes/royalties a company pays) as HB 111 envisions at all prices between $50- 110 per barrel, will only make it harder for companies to bring new production online.

Projects like Smith Bay, Pikka, Willow and Nuna would increase production by hundreds of thousands of barrels, create thousands of high paying jobs, and generate billions of dollars in new revenue for the State. SB 21 has helped make these projects viable, while HB 111 threatens to undercut or outright stop them. I believe Alaska should keep our competitive tax structure in place, and do all we can to increase production – not focus on short term cash grabs by changing our tax regime again.

 

School Happenings

This week, students from both Trailside and Kasuun Elementary will be participating in spring cleanup days. The Knights will be tackling their campus clean up on Friday, while the Timberwolves will be coming in on Saturday to spiff up their school. It’s great to hear about active, engaged and thoughtful students who care about the well-being of their schools!

Also, at Trailside it’s Staff Appreciation Week! Our deepest gratitude goes out to the hard working teachers, support staff and administrators who make Trailside the great school it is. You all do an amazing job and make our district a wonderful place. Go Timberwolves!

 

The DEA is coordinating this effort to safely dispose of your prescription medications!

End of Session Update 4/17/2017

Monday, April 17th, 2017

Friendly Faces!

It was wonderful seeing my cousin, Lisa Anderson, and students from the Bristol Bay region who were in Juneau to talk about education. 

   Service High School Principal Hauser stopped by for a visit! Go Cougars!

90 Days Come and Gone

It is now Day 91 of the 2017 Legislative Session. To my dismay, the Legislature has been unable to complete its work in the timeframe set forth by the people of Alaska. The people voted for a 90 day session, though our State Constitution allows the Legislature to continue working for a full 120 days. Throughout the session my 17 Republican colleagues and I, who make up the House Minority, urged the Democrat-led Majority to work weekends, hold longer floor sessions and focus committee work on only major fiscal issues. Sadly, our requests went mostly ignored. We now we find ourselves locked in gridlock and in extended session for the foreseeable future.

Major issues such as the budget, fiscal plan proposals, oil tax credit reform, and implementing a legitimate spending cap have not yet been completed and passed by both bodies. Completing the budget, and determining how to fund it, is the most important task remaining on our plate. I remain optimistic that through calm, rational deliberation we will reach a solution that secures a bright future for our state. I am hopeful that the House Majority joins me in that sentiment.

Fiscal Plan Update

On Wednesday the 12th, the Democrat House Majority passed Senate Bill 26 on a party line vote. Senate Bill 26 would have significantly addressed our budget deficit. I liked portions of the bill, though not all aspects of it. However, SB 26 was grossly amended by the House Majority in the Finance Committee. The $4.1 billion spending cap and $1.2 billion “revenue draw limit” were both removed. Furthermore, “poison pill” conditional language was inserted into the bill calling for the imposition of an income tax and higher oil taxes in order for SB 26 to become law. I along with my 18-member Republican Caucus voted against this bill the dangerous conditional language.

Then on Saturday, April 15, which ironically happened to be federal tax day, the House Majority passed HB 115, which I like to call the “Tax Working Alaskans Act.” Should HB 115 pass the Senate, it would impose the first income tax in Alaska since 1980. All members of the House Republican Minority voted against it. We stood resolutely against the taking of $670+ million from working Alaskans to prop up government. HB 115 is unlikely to pass the Senate, however, it’s highly concerning to see the House Majority disregard our struggling private sector economy by pushing for an income tax. Likewise, Governor Walker issued a press release praising the House Majority’s passage of an income tax.

Opioid Crisis Update

Last month, House Bill 24, my bill that criminalizes the possession and sale of the incredibly dangerous synthetic opioid U-47700, also known as “Pink”, overwhelmingly passed the Alaska State House. On Monday, April 3rd, HB 24 unanimously passed the Alaska State Senate! It empowers state and local law enforcement to put dealers behind bars and save the lives of Alaskans caught in the downward spiral of opioid addiction.

We are now waiting for the House Majority to bring forth HB 24 so that we can accept the changes made to it by the Senate. Once that action occurs, HB 24 will be sent to Gov. Walker.

Our legislation is one component of Alaska’s comprehensive statewide plan to fight opioid addiction, a menace to our society destroying lives, families and communities. We hope swift action will be taken by Governor Walker to sign this legislation into law once it reaches his desk.

Seward Highway Project Update

Construction season is beginning to heat up in town! The Seward Highway Dimond to Dowling project is a major construction project slated to run two full seasons. Here is the most recent information on the project from DOT:

ROAD CLOSURE: Homer Drive is now CLOSED to all traffic, from Dimond Boulevard to 68th Avenue. 68th Avenue will remain open during this time to traffic, and the Old Seward Highway will act as a main business access and DETOUR route.

Brayton Drive is now CLOSED to all traffic, from Dimond Boulevard to 68th Avenue. Residents can access the northbound Seward Highway by using Sandlewood Place and Lore Road as an alternate DETOUR route. In addition, Sandlewood Place, Meadow Street and 68th Avenue should be used as a Brayton Drive business access DETOUR route.

Please note that no side road access will be permitted to and from the Homer Drive and Brayton Drive frontage roads during construction.

  • Later this season, Seward Highway traffic will be rerouted to the Homer Drive and Brayton Drive frontage roads. Work will be in effect 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, through mid-October, in order to expedite the construction process.
  • To receive email updates about this project, email: SewardDowlingDimond@spawnak.com

 

 

Update for April 7, 2017

Friday, April 7th, 2017

Fiscal Plan Update

We are now at day 81 of 90 of the Legislative Session. While many of us went into this session filled with a lot of optimism about solving our fiscal crisis, it has been disappointing to see the House Democratic Majority stall every piece of legislation that could solve our state’s enormous fiscal deficit. Thus far, the Democrat Majority has failed to gain enough votes to advance their two major pieces of legislation: HB 115 (income tax and Permanent Fund POMV plan) and HB 111 (oil and gas taxes/credits). Both bills remain stuck in the House Finance Committee, and legislators have no idea when they might be ready for primetime. This stalling represents a huge setback in getting Alaska’s budget under control and helping our struggling economy.

House Republicans have continued to advance ideas that would close the budget deficit, provide fiscal certainty to businesses, and avoid imposing taxes on Alaskan families. A major component of our fiscal plan, House Bill 192, has not even received a hearing. My caucus and I are dedicated to completing our work on time and in 90 days. Unfortunately, multiple critical hearings have been canceled and House Floor votes have yet to occur despite our having less than two weeks to go.

 

Tax Bills Update

This year we have seen nine different tax proposals introduced, and none of them have advanced to a vote on the House Floor. These bills, most of which were introduced by the House Democratic Majority, increase the cost of running small businesses, reduce Alaskans income, tax essential commodities, and hurt our state’s biggest employers. None of these bills close the fiscal gap, but they will all grow the cost of living for Alaskan families.

Alaska is in the midst of a serious recession, and I am generally not comfortable with new or higher taxes on our struggling economy. Our government must be creative with its resources, and find new innovative ways to live within its means before turning to taxes on Alaskans. I will be tracking all of these tax proposals as they move through the process, and will keep you posted as to their different financial implications for our communities and families.

 

Sexual Assault Awareness Month

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month in Alaska. Now is a good time to reflect on the ways we can work to prevent assault and support survivors. By working together and pooling our resources during the month of April, we can highlight sexual violence as a significant public health, human rights and social justice issue and reinforce the need for prevention efforts. Standing Together Against Rape, a non-profit serving victims and encouraging prevention of sexual violence in Alaska, has many events planned during the month of April including:

Trusted Adult Superhero Day: 2nd Week of April, throughout Anchorage

Walk a Mile in Her Shoes: Saturday, April 29th, 11:30 a.m., University Center Mall

International Denim Day: Wednesday, April 26th, All Day, throughout Anchorage

To find out more or see ways you can help, visit: http://www.staralaska.com/sexual-assault-awareness-month.html

Opioid Crisis

Last month, House Bill 24, my bill that criminalizes the possession and sale of the incredibly dangerous synthetic opioid U-47700, also known as “Pink”, overwhelmingly passed the Alaska State House. On Monday, April 3rd, HB 24 unanimously passed the Alaska State Senate! It empowers state and local law enforcement to put dealers behind bars and save the lives of Alaskans caught in the downward spiral of opioid addiction.

Our legislation is one component of Alaska’s comprehensive statewide plan to fight opioid addiction, a menace to our society destroying lives, families and communities. House Bill 24 now heads to Governor Bill Walker’s desk, where we hope swift action will be taken to sign this legislation into law.

Seward Highway Project Update

Following the recent snowfall, the project has resumed its normal pace of work. For a full project overview from the Alaska Department of Transportation, click here. DOT put out the following statement regarding Brayton Drive:

Beginning Monday, April 10 at 8:00pm, Brayton Drive will be CLOSED to all traffic, from Dimond Boulevard to 68th Avenue. Residents can access the northbound Seward Highway by using Sandlewood Place and Lore Road as an alternate DETOUR route. In addition, Sandlewood Place, Meadow Street and 68th Avenue should be used as a          Brayton Drive business access DETOUR route.

Please note that no side road access will be permitted to and from the Homer Drive and Brayton Drive frontage roads during construction.

  • Later this season, Seward Highway traffic will be rerouted to the Homer Drive and Brayton Drive frontage roads. Work will be in effect 24 hours a day, 7 days a week,           through mid-October, in order to expedite the construction process.
  • To receive email updates about this project, email: SewardDowlingDimond@spawnak.com

 

Update for Saturday, February 18

Saturday, February 18th, 2017

Constituent Arlene Briscoe visited Juneau for the Alaska Nurses Association.

 

Good afternoon everyone,

We are now about a month into this Legislative session, and our office is working hard on evaluating the state’s budget and the bills before the Legislature. There are many large issues moving through the process, and we will keep you posted as to opportunities for you to weigh in on matters important to you.

 

Two officers with the Anchorage Police Department visited the office this week.

Opioid Disaster Declaration

This week the Walker Administration took the important and necessary step of issuing a disaster declaration for the opioid epidemic. Opioid addiction and overdose are ravaging our state and risking the future of our next generation. Silence will not end this cycle of drug abuse – treatment, prevention, and emergency response capabilities are needed in our state to stop this epidemic in its tracks. The declaration allows the formation of an Overdose Response Program, which can distribute naloxone, a drug that saves opioid users from a fatal overdose.

Critical to assisting in stemming the growth of opioid related deaths is giving law enforcement the tools it needs to halt the spread of dangerous new synthetic drugs. In order to further that goal, our office has brought forward House Bill 24, legislation outlawing a dangerous new form of synthetic heroin called U-47700, or more commonly known by its street name “pink.” The bill will add U-47700 to the state’s list of schedule 1A drugs, a list that includes heroin and LSD, drugs with a high potential for abuse and lack any legitimate medical use. Without this listing, U-47700, which is up to 800% more potent than regular heroin, will remain perfectly legal under state law. We also want to thank Alaska’s law enforcement, substance treatment organizations and Attorney General Jahna Lindemuth for supporting House Bill 24.

Alaska’s Education Challenge

Delivering a quality education to every student in Alaska comes with challenges that are truly unique to our state. The Alaska Department of Education and Early Development and the State Board of Education have launched a comprehensive effort to improve our education system called “Alaska’s Education Challenge.” It starts with gathering public input, ideas from you and your neighbors, on how to make the education system more efficient and effective under the current fiscal situation. Once the initial public input process is completed, committees will be formed to make policy recommendations on five priorities already identified by the State Board of Education.

This flyer contains more information on how you can participate and links for additional information.

288,400 of your fellow Alaskans have already filed. Have you? The deadline to apply for the 2017 Permanent Fund Dividend is March 31. The most efficient way to apply is online and we have the link right here: http://pfd.alaska.gov/ The PFD division’s webpage also contains an explanation of the eligibility requirements and complete instructions if you need to file for a child or another adult. Dividends will be distributed in early October.

Go Cougars!

Attention all aspiring high school artists! The ASAA All-State Art Online Competition participation forms are due February 27. Here is the flyer with details on how to enter.

Today and tomorrow the Cougars compete in the Region IV Cross Country Ski Championships at Kincaid Park. Check out the team’s website for more details: http://servicecrosscountry.com/index.html

Here is the schedule for the basketball teams. Home games are in CAPS. The public is always welcome at Service High athletic events.

Girls Schedule:

Saturday, February 18 – BARTLETT VS. SERVICE @ 6:00 P.M.

Wednesday, February 22 – Service vs. Dimond @ 6:00 p.m.

Thursday, February 23 – WEST VALLEY VS. SERVICE @ 7:30 P.M.

Boys Schedule:

Saturday, February 18 – BARTLETT VS. SERVICE @ 7:30 P.M.

Wednesday, February 22 – Service vs. Dimond @ 7:30 p.m.

Before we go… the next generation of Cougars at Kasuun Elementary just released this month’s Kasuun newsletter.

Thank you for reading our weekly blog post. If there is anything we can do for you, please give us a call toll free at 888-269-3879.

Sincerely,


Update for August 2nd

Tuesday, August 2nd, 2016

Friends and Neighbors,

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 rep.charisse.millett@akleg.gov or call 269-0222.

 

Cheers,

Charisse Signature bold

 

Special Session Ends

Friday, July 15th, 2016

Friends and neighbors,
Thank you once again for taking the time to read our weekly blog. We want to bring you the latest on the end of the special session here in Juneau and toss in some information on a pair of fun events for the entire family.

Special Session Update
 
The fifth special session is now coming to a close, after little time between now and the Governor’s previous call down to Juneau. With little changing between this special session and the previous, the Governor was once again unable to gather sufficient support for his new tax proposals or his Permanent Fund restructure. Additionally, while many advocated for overrides for certain budget vetoes made by the Governor, none gained enough support to pass either the House or Senate. With legislators representing such diverse perspectives and constituencies from all across our state, many need more time to gather enough support from their districts and communities for landmark changes to our state’s institutions and taxes on Alaskans’ hard-earned money.
 
Our office has continued to support a plan that restructures the state’s assets in a way that makes them work for essential services and our economy, as well as significant reductions to government spending. Our state has effectively invested and saved for difficult straits like those we face today, and it is important to use those savings and investments as wisely as possible. While enough support could not be won to pass a restructuring plan this session, we will continue to strive towards this change in the coming months with neighbors and colleagues alike.
 
The Legislative session is not the only time when legislators are working with their neighbors and communities to come up with solutions for the problems facing our state. As Alaskans, we work year-round to improve our state and plan for the next generation. Please continue to reach out with your thoughts, ideas and concerns. Input from our constituents is invaluable in these unprecedented economic times.
 
Summer Events
 
As we move into the second half of summer there are a few festivals and events that we thought you may want to consider placing on your calendar. The Alaska Greek Festival will be held from August 19-21 at 2800 O’Malley Road. The annual event brings authentic Greek food, music and culture to the Last Frontier. Check out the webpage for more details at www.akgreekfestival.com
 
This year’s Alaska State Fair kicks off at the Palmer Fairgrounds on August 25 and runs through Labor Day. The event is a family favorite as we transition from summer to fall here in Southcentral Alaska. Go to www.alaskastatefair.org for all the information you may need.
 
We will be back in the district early next week so do not hesitate to reach out to us if there is anything we can do for you. Our Anchorage office number is 269-0222 and we can always be reached by email at representative.charisse.millett@akleg.gov Temps are expected to stay in the upper 70’s all weekend so go out and make the most if it!
 
 
Warmly,
Charisse Signature bold

Update for July 7th

Thursday, July 7th, 2016

Thank you once again for reading our blog page where we make every effort to bring you up to date on the latest happenings in the Alaska Legislature and our community.

 

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!

 

Best,

Charisse Signature bold