Reps. Millett and Gattis at last weekend’s Legislative Shoot in Juneau. All profits from the event go to a worthwhile charity.
Welcome to our weekly blog page update where we fill you in on what is happening here in Juneau and around the Abbott Loop area. Things are super busy in the state capitol building with less than a month to go in the regular session. Let’s get started with a progress report on some legislation.
Criminal Justice Reform
This session, the Legislature has been reviewing a package of reforms to our criminal justice system. Senate Bill 91 and House Bill 205 are the vehicles for recommendations brought to us by the Alaska Criminal Justice Commission, a diverse group comprised of victims’ advocates, law enforcement, judges, prosecutors, defense attorneys, legislators, leaders in the Native community and other experts in criminal justice and community rehabilitation. After years of examination of Alaska’s justice system, successful policies, data, and outcomes, the Commission came out with a report of 21 recommendations to reduce crime, hold offenders accountable, and heal our communities. Those recommendations make up SB91 and HB205.
As legislators, we are looking closely at every one of these policy recommendations to ensure a few things, including:
- Alaskans are safe in their homes and communities
- Our state does not go too easy on people who break our laws
- Underlying causes of crime, like substance abuse and addiction, are being addressed
- We are not spending our money on policies that don’t work
We owe all Alaskans a safer environment than what we have today. Longer sentences and a lack of treatment options have led to higher crime rates and even higher rates of re-victimization and recidivism. People aren’t getting better before they’re getting worse, and a fix is needed. The Legislature will not be rubber stamping the Commission’s recommendations. We aren’t sure yet whether these bills represent a solution to the problems we’re facing, but we will be vetting them closely and taking your input throughout the process. Please call, email, write, or testify with your concerns and ideas!
Rep. Millett serves as Majority Leader in the Alaska House.
House Bill 308
This bill has its first hearing in the House Labor and Commerce Committee on Monday afternoon. Child Passenger Safety Technicians install, inspect and adjust and educate parents about the proper use of child safety seats. Recruiting new technicians is difficult due to a lack of liability protections in current state statutes.
House Bill 308 limits the civil liability of certified technicians, or those who facilitate their program, in the case that an accident results from an act or omission in the inspection, installation, or adjustment of a child passenger safety device. With the goal of having our state’s children safe and secured in their car seats and booster seats, this bill hopes to increase the numbers of those who can effectively install and inspect devices and direct liability to those who actually commit wrongful, criminal acts.
The legislation has broad support from Alaska’s law enforcement officers, health and safety professionals, firefighters, paramedics and healthcare professionals.
House Bill 241
House Bill 241 will be heard in the House Fisheries Committee on March 29. Alaska’s commercial fishing industry has long attracted fisherman from across the United States, and around the world, to seek their fortunes, and join Alaskan fisherman in the state’s bountiful waters. For a commercial fishing operation to participate in a fishery with limited access, they must apply for a permit, which if accepted, comes with a fee. The state levies different fees for permit applicants and holders who are Alaska residents than those who are nonresidents.
This legislation seeks to address concerns that many current permit holders and applicants who pay fees meant for residents of Alaska are in fact, living outside of the state. To better determine the qualifications for in-state residents, this bill uses existing infrastructure in the form of the Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation’s eligibility criteria for the permanent fund dividend. House Bill 241 would require that the Permanent Fund Corporation confirm for the Commercial Fisheries Entry Commission that an individual applying for a permit or renewal has received, or is eligible to receive a permanent fund dividend.
Cell phones seem to be capable of about anything these days. Now track legislation with your phone by using SMS Bill Tracking. This is a great feature. Text a bill number (ex: HB1) to 559-245-2529 to enroll in text alerts. You will receive an enrollment confirmation and instructions on how to stop receiving the alerts.
Rep. Millett hosts the weekly House Majority news conference for the news media.
Get Involved in Education
Parents, teachers and administrators gather for monthly PTA meetings throughout the school year. Here is the slate of meetings for April.
Abbott Loop Elementary PTO – Tuesday, April 12 at 6:00 p.m.
Kasuun Elementary PTA – Thursday, April 7 at 4:00 p.m.
Trailside Elementary PTA – Thursday, April 7 at 3:45 p.m.
Polaris K-12 School PTO – Wednesday, April 13 at 4:30 p.m.
Hanshew Middle School PTA – Monday, April 4 at 3:30 p.m.
Service High School PTA – Tuesday, April 12 at 6:00 p.m.
The Service Girls Soccer Team held its first game of the season Wednesday, defeating East High 7-0. The season is off to a great start so let’s make sure to cheer on the Lady Cougars all season long. Their next game against Bartlett takes place March 26 at 8:15 p.m. in the Anchorage Sports Dome. Meanwhile, the boys’ soccer team takes on Bartlett the same day, same place, at 6:30 p.m.
Before we go, remember that the deadline to file for this year’s PFD is one week away, March 31. File online at http://pfd.alaska.gov/
Thank you so much for your support over the years and have a wonderful weekend.