Archive for the ‘General’ Category

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

 

 

 

 

Update for Friday, June 3rd

Friday, June 3rd, 2016

Happy Friday everyone,

Today in Juneau the Alaska House held a floor session and the House Labor & Commerce and Finance Committees held meetings on bills listed on the special session agenda. We will continue to provide regular updates for you as the special session progresses.

Special Session

Since our last update, the House and Senate have both held multiple meetings on bills requested by the Governor, and have held floor sessions. The Legislature passed another one of the bills on the special session call today, House Bill 374. This bill would protect Alaskans from extreme insurance policy rate hikes, which would occur as a result of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). By making changes to our reinsurance code, insurers will better be able to spread their risk and keep prices low for Alaskans – especially those deemed “high risk”.

The House Finance Committee met both Thursday and Friday to discuss tax proposals introduced by the Governor, and a change to the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority’s infrastructure funding. The Finance Committee moved three of the Governor’s tax bills from committee, including tax hikes on fishing, mining, and motor fuels, not because the members support the measures necessarily, but to allow the full House to be able to vote them up or down. The Governor’s income tax proposal is still being evaluated by the committee.

The House Labor and Commerce Committee continued its work on House Bill 4002, which would provide the families of public safety killed in the line of duty with health coverage. This was a bill that our office sponsored, and we have been closely tracking this most recent iteration. Tomorrow, Saturday June 4th, the House Labor and Commerce Committee will be taking public testimony on this bill at 11:00 a.m. Stop by the nearest LIO or call in to (907) 465-4648 to share your thoughts. We will continue to keep you posted as this bill moves through the process.

Tomorrow the House will also meet again in session at 1:00 p.m. You can always follow floor session online at akl.tv

Anchorage School Board

Students are enjoying their summer break but the Anchorage School Board remains on duty all year long. Here are two items on the agenda for the Monday night meeting.

  • A resolution in support of locating municipal ballot drop boxes on certain school district sites. Starting in 2017, Anchorage voters will mail their ballots to city hall, or leave ballots at designated drop boxes for all local elections.
  • Accepting a grant award for suicide awareness, prevention, and postvention grant (A postvention is an intervention conducted after a suicide to support family and friends left behind)

Monday’s meeting gets underway at 6:30 p.m. at ASD Headquarters, 5530 East Northern Lights Blvd.

Fish on!

The fish are biting in rivers, lakes and streams all across Southcentral Alaska so now is the time to get out and start catching fish. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game has a really informative website http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/index.cfm?adfg=fishingSport.main with detailed information about regulations and fish counts so you can see where your odds are best to catch the big one.

We will be back Monday with another update on the special session. Get out and enjoy the summer and have a great weekend.

Warmly,

Charisse Signature bold

 

Update for April 16th

Saturday, April 16th, 2016

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

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

 

Friends and neighbors,

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

Budget Work

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

Criminal Justice Reform

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

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

Other Legislation

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

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

 

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

House Bill 76

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

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

House Bill 308

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

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

Alaska Injury Prevention Center – 907-929-3939

Anchorage Fire Department – 907-267-5045

Safe Kids Alaska State Coalition – 907-212-3194

Service Soccer Logo

Go Cougars!

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

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

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

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

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

Anchorage Walks for Autism 2016

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

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

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

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

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

Have a great weekend everyone,

Charisse Signature bold

 

Update for January 29th

Friday, January 29th, 2016

Discussing the floor session with Speaker Mike Chenault

Discussing the floor session with House Speaker Mike Chenault

 

Hello everyone,

 

It is already day 11 of the 90 day session. We are doing well and working hard each and every day representing you. This week we review some of the bills our office is working on and so much more.

Bills on the Move

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

HB 66 – Provides the surviving spouses and dependents of state employees who have died in the line of duty with continued medical coverage. This bill was brought to us on behalf of the families of slain Alaska State Troopers, and aims to provide stability to families who have sacrificed so much for this state.

HB 76 – Removes the word “gifted” from the enabling statute for the Governor’s Council on Disabilities and Special Education. This bill updates statute to more accurately reflect the important work the Council does for individuals with disabilities, and the State and Federal obligation to oversee special education programs.

HB 90 – Establishes a variable benefit retirement plan for members of public safety, including troopers, firefighters, and police officers. This bill provides a more secure financial future for our public safety employees who typically face less time in the system and thus a greater risk of an inadequate retirement. What we aim to accomplish is preventing reliance on social welfare programs, a potential increase in Worker’s Comp costs, and the difficulty we are currently experiencing in recruiting and retaining good employees.

House Bill 125 – Prohibits the sale of cough and cold medicines containing dextromethorphan to those under 18 years of age without a prescription. This bill would keep children safe from the dangerous effects of medicines if used improperly, while still securing access to adults seeking remedies for cold and cough symptoms.

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

If you have any questions about these bills, please give us a call anytime.

Anchorage Assembly

The Anchorage Assembly has scheduled special meeting for this Thursday, February 4 at 6:00 p.m., to review, take public testimony, on a pair of ordinances that establish the rules for marijuana businesses and personal use of marijuana within the Municipality of Anchorage.

We do not have to tell you how important these ordinances are to our community. If you want to get involved in this, be at the Loussac Library’s assembly chambers Thursday evening.

Get Involved with Education

February is Visit Our School Month! All public schools in the Anchorage School District will conduct tours on Tuesdays at 9:30 a.m. and an evening tour will be held at 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday, the 23rd.

For parents, it is an opportunity to check out the schools and programs available, and use that knowledge to make the most informed decision possible about where their children will be educated. For those parents seeking to enroll their child in a school outside of the neighborhood attendance area they reside in, it requires a lottery application. Lottery applications are due March 24th.

Tours are open to everyone. If you have any questions, please call the school you wish to visit.

Bundles of Joy

Those creative people at the Soroptimist International Society of Anchorage on Cook Inlet have come up with a clever way to collect donations for mothers with infants that need a little help with the essentials like diapers, clothes and formula.

Hold a Community Baby Shower!

On Saturday, April 2, from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the Sears Mall, the Soroptimists will collect donations for all items a mother can use to care for her baby. The group’s wish list of items also asks for bedding and toys. If you can help out, please drop off your donations April 2

 

Let us know if there is anything you need because my staff and I work for you.

 

Have a great weekend,

 

Charisse

Session Gets Underway in Juneau

Friday, January 22nd, 2016

Rep. Millett taking the Pledge of Allegiance on the first day of the 2016 legislative session.

Rep. Millett taking the Pledge of Allegiance on the first day of the 2016 legislative session.

Friends and neighbors,

 

Thank you for making my blog a part of your busy day. The session got underway this week and my staff and I are busy working for you, your family and our wonderful community.

First Week of Session

With the first week of session coming to a close, you can tell that legislators across the building are energized, and ready to meet the challenges we as Alaskans face. The Legislature truly hit the ground running, with budget hearings in House and Senate Finance Committees, hearings on education, the Code of Military Justice, marijuana regulations, and much more. Additionally, we heard from the Governor, through his State of the State address, about his vision for the use of the permanent fund, increased and new taxation, and reworking of certain government functions. While not everyone currently agrees on the best way to close our revenue gap and meet our budget challenge, we all do agree that it’s going to involve cooperation and collaborative work.

What seems to be the biggest takeaway this week, and certainly the point on which all legislators agree, is that the public will play a critical role in guiding us towards a budget solution this session. We really do need to hear from you about the size and scope you envision for your government, and the effect that proposals will have on your life. All of the Governor’s proposals, as well as those generated by the Legislature, will be heard publically during the committee process, and there will be multiple ways to weigh in.

As always, please reach out to my office with any and all ideas or concerns moving forward. Remember to use my toll free number, 1-888-269-3879, if you need to reach us for any reason. My email address is rep.charisse.millett@akleg.gov

Our Office

Staff are the backbone of the Alaska Legislature and my staff for the 2016 session are no exception. They are energetic, resourceful and knowledgeable of the issues and our district – I count on them every day.

Office Manager Sarrah Matheny rejoins my staff for the 2016 session. She worked for us two years ago and is now back with me after spending a year living overseas. When you call my Juneau office Sarah is most likely the person you will be speaking with. Lindsey Whitt came on board last fall after four years as Communications Director for the Municipality of Anchorage. Lindsey is a great asset and we are really glad to have her onboard.

She is a wiz at the legislative process! Majority Aide Grace Abbott carries my personal legislation and staffs my committee assignments this session. My other Majority Aide Jeff Turner, focuses on constituent work and closely follows happenings back home so I am never out of touch with you while in Juneau.

District 25 Constituent Patrick Reinhart Courtesy: SOA

District 25 Constituent Patrick Reinhart 

 

Constituent Spotlight: Patrick Reinhart

Patrick Reinhart is so much more than our constituent, he is a lifelong advocate for Alaska’s disabled community, striving to improve employment opportunities, resources and community understanding for Alaskans that just need a little extra assistance to become productive and contributing members of society.

As Executive Director for the Governor’s Council on Disabilities and Special Education, he manages and promotes a range of services for the disabled from employment to education, to health care and transportation. As a member of the council’s board the past few years, Patrick and I were able to move several bills through the legislature for the disabled community.

His involvement only begins there. For the past 30 years he served on the board, or as Executive Director at Challenge Alaska and he also holds a seat on the Alaska Brain Injury Network and is Vice-Chair of the Alaska Mobility Coalition.

Patrick, his wife Rebecca Horton and their two friendly dogs, Sophie and Stella, are seven year residents of Abbott Loop and we are so glad to call them constituents.

Get Involved in Education

Here is the February schedule for the PTA meetings in our district. Remember, you do not have to have a child at the school to participate, just a sincere interest for making our public schools the best they can be!

Abbott Loop Elementary PTA – Tuesday, February 9 at 6:00 p.m.

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

(Click here to read Kasuun’s January newsletter)

Trailside Elementary PTA – Thursday, February 4 at 3:45 p.m.

Polaris K-12 Parent Forum – Wednesday, February 10 at 4:30 p.m.

Hanshew Middle School PTA – Monday, February 1 at 3:30 p.m.

Service High School PTA – Tuesday, February 9 at 6:00 p.m.

 

Anchorage Assembly

We have a few of the hot topics for you for the upcoming Tuesday, January 26 meeting of the Anchorage Assembly.

 

  • Memorandums approving lobbying contracts for the Port of Anchorage and Municipal Light and Power

 

  • An ordinance of the Anchorage Municipal Assembly submitting to the qualified voters residing in the Girdwood Valley Service Area (GVSA) at the Regular Election on April 5, 2016, a ballot proposition to add to the existing powers of the GVSA the power to provide for police protection services beginning July 1, 2016 at the sole expense of GVSA

 

  • An ordinance adding a new Anchorage Municipal Code for special land use permits for marijuana establishments

 

Assembly meetings start at 5:00 p.m. in the Loussac Library. Here is a link the full agenda: http://publicdocs.muni.org/sirepub/pubmtgframe.aspx?meetid=1113&doctype=agenda

 

Thank you so much for your continued support and have a good weekend.

 

Warmly,

 

 

Charisse