Archive for the ‘Budget’ 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.

 

Update for May 15, 2017

Monday, May 15th, 2017

Update on Alaska’s Fiscal Options

The past few days have seen a lot of movement on some important issues here in Juneau. Perhaps most importantly, we have finally seen the beginning of the budget negotiation process. The House and Senate met on Monday to organize the Conference Committee on the budget, which will be the group that will reconcile differences and come up with budget solutions that can garner enough support to fund government. I continue to believe there are many smart reductions and efficiencies to be found in our current administration, but will also be focused on reducing the effects of this downturn on our public safety and schools. It is our one constitutional obligation to pass a budget, and while I’m disappointed that this has taken so long to begin, I’m encouraged that movement is taking place.

We also saw significant progress this weekend on a plan to help our economy recover from its current recession. For months, there has been close evaluation and discussion of implementing an income tax to help pay for government. We’ve heard testimony from experts and from Alaskans on how taxing income during a recession would affect our state. After this lengthy debate, the income tax bill was voted on by both the House and Senate, and was unable to get enough support to pass this year. I remain focused on working to implement a sustainable plan to provide essential safety, health and education services this year. However, we have been told that an income tax would have burdened working Alaskans too heavily during a time where incomes are dropping and unemployment is at a high, and am thus glad to be able to move past this policy and onto better solutions. It is time to focus on other policy discussions that can unite us, rather than divide.

We are quickly approaching Wednesday’s constitutional deadline for this legislative session, and I am hopeful that my colleagues in the Majority will allow for a laser focus on the issues that are most pressing to Alaskans. We need to get our work done and find that common ground that Alaskans have been asking for these past 117 days.

Graduation and Final Weeks of School!

Today, Service High Seniors get to walk across the stage at the Sullivan Arena and accept their Diplomas! Congratulations to all of the hard-working graduates who have made it thus far in their educational pursuits! I know you will all do well during the next step of your journey, and hope that you know that you have a team of cheerleaders in our community who will be there to support you as you continue to work towards achieving your dreams.

The last day of classes for all ASD schools is May 24.

Over at Kasuun Elementary it’s a busy time as well. The 6th grade band and orchestra are having their final concert of the year on Thursday, May 18, at 9:30am. The school talent show is taking place on Friday, May 19, at 1:30pm. Field Day is the following Monday – with grades 4-6 in the morning, and K-3 in the afternoon! Looking ahead to next year, 1st grade will start at the same time as grades 2-12 on August 21, 2017 while preschool and Kindergarten kick off one week later on August 28th.

Construction Continues Along Seward Highway

The Alaska Department of Transportation sent out its weekly update for the Seward Highway Dimond to Dowling road project. Below is the DOT’s update from May 10th:

“ROAD CLOSURE: 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.

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.

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

Beginning the evening of Saturday, May 20, southbound Seward Highway traffic will be shifted from the Seward Highway to Homer Drive, which will now act as the southbound Seward Highway. Be alert to a reduced speed limit of 45MPH throughout the construction zone.

Beginning Saturday, June 10, 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 45MPH throughout the construction zone.

Work will be in effect 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, through mid-October, in order to expedite the construction process.”

Drive safely everyone and slowdown in construction zones this summer!

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 March 31, 2017

Friday, March 31st, 2017

 

Hannah Fjeld and Janelle Solbos, two Pharmacy School students from District 25 came by to visit this week! Seeing smart, driven young students makes you hopeful for our state’s future.

 

 

 

 

Update on Fiscal Plans

This week, we were grateful for the outpouring of public testimony on the House Democrats’ proposed income tax, House Bill 115. Not only did the House Finance Committee hear the voices of Alaskans, but legislators throughout the building were watching, and paying attention to the thoughts of their constituents. Of the 127 testifiers across the state, the majority of testifiers called to show their deep opposition to House Bill 115 and reinstituting an income tax in this economy. This sentiment reflects what we have heard in our office from those who have called and emailed. While most Alaskans believe a fiscal plan must be accomplished this year, they continue to demonstrate firm opposition to an income tax due to the incredibly damaging affect it would have on businesses during this recession.

 
As we mentioned last week, the House Republicans have introduced a comprehensive fiscal plan that doesn’t rely on taxes to sustain essential services. House Bill 192 caps state spending, makes phased reductions to the budget, and uses our states’ assets in a more efficient manner. An important part of this plan is that it enables the PFD to grow with the overall Permanent Funds, and keeps money circulating in the hands of private citizens, thereby, helping Alaska slide further into the recession.

One of the most dedicated and passionate advocates for our children, Trevor Storrs, also happens to be a great constituent! Thanks for the visit!

Income Tax Facts

Alaska hasn’t had a state income tax since 1980 when it was repealed. HB 115, being championed by the House Majority, would reinstitute that tax. All types of income (including retirement, earnings from trusts, ANSCA shareholder dividends etc.) earned in Alaska would be taxed, with both residents and non-residents having to.

The income tax would take $680 million from Alaskans, and give it to state government. 60 new state employees will be hired to administer the tax. The bill would establish a progressive income tax with six different brackets. The highest marginal rate, of 7%, imposed under HB 115 would be the 12th highest in the country for single filers.

Currently, there are seven states with no income tax in the U.S., Alaska being one of them. I want Alaska to remain amongst those seven states.

Happy to meet with the Alaska Banker’s Association to talk fiscal plans this week!

Seward Highway Dowling to Dimond Project

On Wednesday, our office sent out a special update on the upcoming project to expand the Seward Highway, and its effect on the Dowling-Dimond corridor. We have been working overtime to make sure the concerns of community members, schools and businesses in the area are brought to the Department of Transportation’s attention. Little work was done by the Department to ensure that stakeholders in the area were engaged and given adequate notification of the upcoming road closures.

To find out more about the project, you can read our Wednesday Update here: http://charissemillett.com/?p=2149

 

Awesome meeting with members of Safari Club International, and a special visit from constituent, Bethany Marcum! Thank you to the club for advocating for our outdoor heritage!

Municipal Election Next Week

Tuesday, April 4th is Anchorage’s Municipal Election Day! Polls are open from 7AM to 8PM, and you can look up your polling place here: http://www.muni.org/Departments/Assembly/Clerk/Elections/2017%20Election%20Documents/NoticeofPollingPlaces.pdf

On the ballot are candidates for Assembly Districts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6, School Board seats C and D, service areas, a ballot proposition, and many bond proposals. Our city works best when our residents are engaged and share their thoughts about how we can improve and grow. Let your voice be heard on April 4th!

 

Thank you so much for taking the time to read this update! We really appreciate your engagement.

Our toll free number is 888-269-3879 and follow me on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Just click on the links below. We are listening.
Warmly,

Update for March 24th

Friday, March 24th, 2017

Fiscal Plan for our Future

This week, colleagues and I introduced a comprehensive fiscal plan, House Bill 192. With low oil prices, and an economy in a recession, now is the time to be creative with our assets, and find a path forward. We’ve been working with experts and listening to constituents about what they believe would be a fair way to fill our fiscal gap. What we’ve heard is that to re-claim a strong economy, we need to ensure that we’re not taking money from Alaskans or lowering incomes.

Our fiscal plan does not impose an income tax, and it does not cap the amount of the PFD. This plan calls for a spending cap, phased cuts over four years, and the use of Permanent Fund earnings within a sustainable and structured framework that protects and grows the Fund. Many of the plans out there rely heavily on taxes to balance the budget, but our priority is lifting this state out of an economic recession, and holding Alaskans harmless.

Check out this link for a bit more information about this fiscal plan: http://alaskahouserepublicans.org/press/long-term-fiscal-plan-protect-economy-preserve-pfds/.

 

Rep. Millett speaking to her concerns with the size of the state budget.

 

 

Budget Update

The House continued to debate the state’s operating budget this week, and took a vote on whether or not to support its passage. I voted no on passing the budget in its current form. The House Majority’s budget represents an increase in spending, resulting in a huge, unstructured bite out of our reserves. We need to be very careful about how we proceed in this current economy, and no one committee or committee chair should decide how to close our budget gap.

Moving forward, we will all continue to work on this budget and I hope that progress will be made in reducing government’s footprint, so that we can have a sustainable budget into the future.

School Happenings in District 25!

There are lots of interesting activities coming up at the schools in our district:

HANSHEW MIDDLE SCHOOL: This school year Hanshew Middle School began offering Pre-AP classes for 8th grade students interested in learning strategies that will help prepare them for Honors and Advanced Placement (AP) classes in high school. Students who enter the Pre-AP program take a Pre-AP 8th Grade Language Arts class and a Pre-AP 8th Grade Social Studies class.

Students in these classes learn how to use Pre-AP strategies to analyze complex fiction and nonfiction texts, as well as how to use evidence to support their claims in both formal essays and shorter pieces of writing. They also learn Pre-AP strategies for identifying an author’s purpose in a piece of writing or a visual document such as a political cartoon. In addition, students learn strong study skills and how to work collaboratively with their peers. Hanshew’s Pre-AP program instructors collaborate extensively throughout the year. They are focused on helping students prepare to take challenging academic classes in high school. Students who are proficient in reading and writing and have a strong academic record are invited into this rigorous program.

SERVICE HIGH SCHOOL: Do you have a Service student getting ready to think about what to do after high school? This Saturday, from 9AM to 12PM in the Service High Library, there will be a “College Workshop”, featuring three college prep sessions: “Finding the Right Fit”, “College Assessments”, and “College Athletics 101”. Check it out and help your student look forward to their future!

TRAILSIDE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL: Trailside Timberwolves are getting excited about STEM learning at their annual Math and Science Night, coming up on March 30th from 6PM to 8PM. Students will get to see the inner-workings of machines, learn from local math and science experts, and show off their science projects. Looks like it will be a lot of fun!

KASUUN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL: Family movie night is coming up next week on March 31st! Join PTA members, students and staff from 6:30PM to 8:30PM to kick back and enjoy a movie. Thank you so much to our Knights for putting on these great community-building events.

We’ll keep our ears open for more fun goings-on in our great schools!

 

Absentee Voting in City Elections

The deadline for applying for your absentee ballot for this April’s municipal elections is quickly approaching! If you’re going to be out of town on Election Day and need to mail in an absentee ballot, consider applying today. By March 28th, the Clerk’s Office needs to have received your vote-by-mail application. Participating in our local elections is critical to creating a great, engaged community!

Find out more here: https://www.muni.org/Departments/Assembly/Clerk/Elections/Pages/VoterInfo.aspx

 

Thank you so much for taking the time to read this update! We really appreciate your engagement.

Our toll free number is 888-269-3879 and follow me on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Just click on the links below. We are listening.
Warmly,

State Budget Update, March 17th

Friday, March 17th, 2017

District 25 constituents and friends Tonya Dipo and Britteny Howell came by the Juneau office to advocate for Alaskans with disabilities as part of the Key Coalition.

Good Afternoon Everyone,

The session is moving so quickly right now. This week, we were so proud to see legislation protecting the health and welfare of families left behind following the death of a public safety officer unanimously pass the house. Meanwhile, the House Republican Caucus was stymied in its mission to address the state’s multibillion dollar budget gap with smart, targeted reductions to the operating budget.

As the session continues, please keep in touch on the budget or anything else important to you and your family.

Budget Update

This week amendments to the House’s version of the State Budget were debated on the floor. There were a multitude of amendments from our House Republicans to reduce the size of government, totaling over $100 million. There were more important budget reductions, and opportunities for common ground awaiting discussion, but the House Democrats cut off debate today, leaving many ideas in the dark. Some of the proposed cuts included reductions to slush-funds, premium pay, and empty positions. Unfortunately, House Democrats chose to reject every cost-savings opportunity, and instead voted to grow the budget this year.

There is a substantial need for action on our financial situation this year, and the Governor and Legislature alike have acknowledged that a fiscal plan must include a reduction to our current unsustainable state spending. Our budget does not reflect our revenue constraints, and still includes spending that could be reduced without negatively impacting Alaskans. We sincerely hope that as the budget continues to move through the legislative process, our need to down-size is taken seriously, and a firmer grip is found on our state spending.

Rep. Millett sat down with the children at Abbott Loop Elementary School to read the book “If I were President” and talk about what it means to be an elected official.

Honoring our Fallen Heroes

We were so proud to see House Bill 23 unanimously pass the Alaska State House on Monday. The legislation provides health benefits for surviving families of fallen public safety officers. Those who make the ultimate sacrifice protecting our families should know that their families will also be cared for.

This bill was the product of substantial time and effort, and over six years of hard work by many stakeholders and representatives. Brandy Johnson, the wife of fallen Sgt. Scott Johnson, who was brutally murdered while serving Alaskans, has been the ultimate advocate for this critical coverage, not only for her family, but for all current and future public safety officers and their families. Alaskans truly owe Brandy a debt of gratitude, as does our office for all of her help and support while working on this important legislation. Thank you to all who have dedicated so much time and effort to see this bill through the House.

Community Meetings

The March meeting of the Abbott Loop Community Council will be held next Thursday, March 30 at Abbott Loop Elementary School. Here is the agenda. On Tuesday, the Anchorage Assembly will hold a regular meeting starting at 5:00 p.m.

Cougar News

The high school soccer season kicks off next weekend with the boys and girls teams visiting Colony High in Palmer on Saturday the 25th, the ladies take the field at noon and the boys’ team at 4:00 p.m.

It was a tough season for the Lady Cougars basketball squad but they played every game with pride and poise. The boy’s team, led by leading scorers Nathan Fromm and Dominic Norman finished third in the Cook Inlet Conference Championships last week. Congratulations to both teams for their hard work.

We also want to give a big congratulations to Service High graduate and District 25 constituent Jeff Overbaugh. Jeff signed a contract with the Denver Broncos football team and will compete for the position of long snapper once training camp begins later this year.

Apply Now!

 

March 31 is coming fast! It is the deadline to apply for your 2017 Alaska Permanent Fund Dividend. If you have any questions about the application process call the Anchorage PFD office at 269-0370, or check out the FAQ webpage at http://pfd.alaska.gov/FAQ

 

That is all for now, but we will be back next week with much more from Juneau and please remember to reach out to us anytime with your thoughts, concerns and ideas.

 

Our toll free number is 888-269-3879. We are listening.

 

Warmly,


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Update for March 10th

Friday, March 10th, 2017

Rep. Millett had some great discussions and heard many good ideas from her constituents at the Anchorage Caucus meeting on February 25.

 

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

It is Friday and that means our weekly constituent newsletter is ready for everyone. We believe it is important to share with all of you information on what we are doing to prevent the spread of deadly synthetic drugs, how our caucus is working to bring state spending under control and the special recognition awarded to three of our community’s amazing athletes! We really appreciate everyone taking a few minutes to stay in touch with us through this newsletter.

Senator Lisa Murkowski and the women of the 30th Alaska Legislature gathered for a group photo after her annual speech to the Alaska Legislature.

Budget Update

The House Finance Committee considered over 200 amendments that would have reduced the size of government this week. Brought forward by House Republican members of the Finance Committee, amendments were offered to cut premium pay, duplicated spending, funding for deleted positions and non-critical programs, such as trade advertising. Unfortunately, nearly all of these reductions were declined by the House Majority, who chose instead to increase the budget by over $200 Million.

When our state is facing an over $2 Billion deficit, we can’t keep digging ourselves deeper and deeper in debt. Especially when the House Majority is looking to tax Alaskans, government needs to take action to cut its costs and better reflect its revenue. Growing the budget during a fiscal crisis and then asking Alaskans to pick up the tab is unrealistic and ignores the recessionary effect of this downturn on families’ pocketbooks.

The budget will now head to the House floor, where we will continue to work to convince colleagues of the serious need to right-size government and to offer amendments to that effect. We will keep you posted as this budget process continues!

Fighting Opioid Abuse

On Monday, legislation, House Bill 24, that criminalizes the possession and sale of the incredibly dangerous synthetic opioid U-47700, also known as “Pink”, was overwhelmingly passed by the Alaska State House. 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 is now up for consideration in the Senate where we hope swift action will be taken.

Cougar Basketball

Congratulations to three Service basketball players, Katie Pearce, Dominic Norman and Nathan Fromm for making the 2016-2017 All Cook Inlet Conference Girls and Boys Basketball Teams. Katie was a star throughout the 14 game regular season while Nathan and Dominic were real sharpshooters on the hardwood, frequently posting the highest individual scores each game. In fact, Dominic and Nathan scored a combined 47 of the team’s 81 points in Wednesday’s Cook Inlet Conference playoff victory against Bartlett. The win advances the boys team to tonight’s semi-final matchup against East at 5:00 p.m. at the West High gym.

Friend and Dist. 25 constituent Kristin Luby with the American Heart Association was joined by Kelly Larson from the Alaska State Fair and Mike Bridges with First National Bank of Alaska for a discussion about smoke free workplaces and ending tobacco use.

Free Smoke Detectors

Home fires have tragically claimed the lives of several Alaskans this winter so we are proud to see the American Red Cross of Alaska and Chugach Electric teaming up to provide free smoke detectors. Just visit the lobby at Chugach Electric headquarters next Friday, March 17 between 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m.to sign up for the free lifesaving detectors. For more details check out this Facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/events/1245527548896602/

Before we go… The Hanshew Middle School PTA needs to fill out the executive board for the 2017-2018 school year. Interested parents can learn out more by sending an email to PTA President Bright Nygard at HanshewPTA@gmail.com Nominations will be voted at the April PTA meeting – and let’s not forget the school newsletters from Service High and Trailside Elementary.

Cool temperatures and sunny skies are forecast for this weekend so enjoy the last few weeks of winter.

We are here to serve you, your family and our community.

 

Warmly,

 

Update for March 3rd

Friday, March 3rd, 2017

 

 

 

District 25 constituent Gillian Dezzutto visited the Juneau office this week.

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

 

Today is day 46 of the 90 day regular session – our half way point – and this week has been has been filled with meetings on the budget, oil and gas taxes, healthcare, and many other issues important to Alaskans. Our office has also been incredibly lucky to have many visits from District 25 constituents this week – all advocating for issues important to them and to our community. If you find yourself in the Capitol City this session with an advocacy group or you simply want to stop by and say hello, please come by our office, Room 404!

Budget Update

This week the House Democratic Majority introduced their edited version of the state budget. We were disappointed to see that despite the over $3 Billion deficit, their budget increases state spending by hundreds of millions of dollars and expands non-essential state programs. Along with a rise in spending, the Majority’s budget eliminated a proposal to use some of our state’s budget reserve, and instead took a large and risky draw from the Permanent Fund’s earning reserve. While smart uses of our state’s assets can benefit the state, such a hefty draw from our earnings reserves in one year can serve to erode the value of that account and the corpus of the Permanent Fund itself.

 

What’s next? Public testimony on the budget began yesterday and will continue today, and we will be listening to how Alaskans react to this late-in-the-game surprise as well as hear from residents about their take on the size of our government. Do you want to weigh in? Anchorage is having public testimony from 1:00 p. to 3:00 p.m. today at the Anchorage LIO (website: http://anchorage.akleg.gov/ ) We will also be working with colleagues to introduce amendments in the Finance Committee to reduce the duplicative, non-critical spending that our budget still includes.

 

Majors Jeff Laughlin and Bernard Chastain with the Alaska State Troopers met with Rep. Millett this week.

Criminal Justice Update

 Our office has been working closely with state prosecutors, victims’ advocates, the Anchorage Police Department, state troopers, and many others in law enforcement to find potential fixes to the dangerous omnibus criminal justice overhaul passed last year, Senate Bill 91. This bill risked the safety of our communities by reducing and changing many of the penalties for criminal offenders without sufficient safety nets and accountability measures to ensure that outcomes would improve. It needs a whole lot of work, and our office is partnering with others across the state to get the input of our constituents on how we can make them feel safer in their homes and regions. If you are interested in sending your ideas for ways we can improve our community and state’s safety, please reach out to our office! We have all witnessed the truly upsetting rate of violent and non-violent crime in Anchorage, and can all do more to prevent that rate from growing.

Strength. Resilience. Justice.

Individuals and organizations that assist crime victims seeking justice in the judicial system while helping them to put their lives back together deserve special recognition. Victims for Justice, an advocacy group dedicated to representing victims of crime, is seeking nominations for its annual awards banquet at the Egan Center April 8. The four awards are an integral part of National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, April 2-8 and the theme this year is Strength. Resilience. Justice. To nominate an individual or organization, fill out the online nomination form at https://victimsforjustice.ejoinme.org/nomination The deadline for nominations is March 15.

 

Go Cougars!

Gus Schumacher did it again! The Service Senior captured the Skimeister title last weekend at the ASAA Nordic Ski State Championships by posting the fastest individual times at the three day event, and he did it just days after winning the Skimeister title at the Cook Inlet Conference Championships. Congratulations to Gus for amazing back to back performances and to the entire team and coach Jan Buron for a successful season on the ski trails.

Practice sessions are underway for the Cougar soccer and track and field teams. Due to the collapse of The Dome earlier this winter, the season opener has been tentatively scheduled for March 31, of course we will have more details as they become available. Schedules for the soccer teams are still being worked out and will be released soon.

Community Meetings

Members of the Anchorage Assembly and Anchorage School Board will gather a joint meeting on Tuesday, April 7 at City Hall in the eighth floor conference room beginning at 10:00 a.m. A review of the 2017-2018 ASD budget and its six year capital improvement plan are on the table for discussion. The Anchorage Assembly will hold a regular meeting that evening at the Loussac Library.

Agendas for both meetings can be found at the municipal meetings webpage. http://www.muni.org/Residents/Pages/MuniMeetings.aspx

 

Car Seat Checkups

The Anchorage Fire Department is offering free car seat and booster seat checkups on March 8, 9 and 10 from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. at downtown Fire Station #1, located at 100 East 4th Avenue. Certified Child Passenger Safety Technicians will inspect seats and booster seats to check for proper installation and educate parents about the safe use of car seats.

For more information, please call Safe Kids Alaska at 907-212-3194.

Do 1 Thing

Shelter. It is one of the essential needs anyone caught in a disaster must have to survive and assist others injured and in need of care. Do 1 Thing is a non-profit organization that works to prepare communities for an emergency or disaster. Each month it brings attention to one thing families and communities can do to be disaster resilient. March is about the steps necessary to locate safe, secure and habitable shelter. Go to the Do 1 Thing at: http://do1thing.com/topics/sheltering  for all the details.

 

We are here for you and your family, so please keep in touch. Our toll free number is 888-269-3879.

 

Warmly,