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.
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.
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
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 firstname.lastname@example.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,