Archive for the ‘Crime’ Category

District 25 Friday Update: Session Conclusion & Graduation

Friday, May 18th, 2018

Good afternoon,

Early Sunday morning, the Legislature adjourned the 2018 session. For our office, this session was marked by both accomplishments and work still to be done. However, we are certainly glad to be returning home to see friends and neighbors around District 25!

Budgets

Earlier this session, we were proud to support an early budget for education funding. By passing this bill before school districts finalized their budgets, we were able to avert confusion and anxiety about classroom funding and staffing levels for the coming year. Additionally, we supported adding funding to districts – $50 million over two years – to help them keep up with inflation and further assist in providing a quality education for our students.

Outside of education however, the state’s budget growth reached a level this year that our office continues to believe is unsustainable. We advocated for and presented over $200 million in cuts to government that did not affect public education, public safety or public health. Unfortunately these targeted budget reductions were rejected by the House Majority. While we are disappointed the Majority decided to grow the budget during a time of slim revenues, we do believe the proposed cuts we offered can provide for a future framework for budget reductions.

Public Safety

This year, unfortunately, there was not sufficient support to implement a full repeal of Senate Bill 91 and overhaul our broken criminal justice laws. However, strides were made to improve specific areas of failure in our justice system. The “catch and release” policy that allowed dangerous offenders to immediately leave jail after  being arrested has been repealed, and sentences were increased for certain felony offenders. We criminalized dangerous new “designer drugs” and gave authorities the ability to better respond to assaults and violent crimes.

Thanks to an outpouring of public support we were also able to secure nearly $200,000 of funding in the Capital Budget for Community Patrols! This funding will enable our Community Patrols, supported by courageous, engaged and caring neighbors, to provide greater support and presence on our streets as they assist our heroic police officers and Troopers in keeping our city and state safe.

There is much more work to be done to make our communities safer. We will keep working this summer to find further ways to support our law enforcement officers, prosecutors and judges as they strive to hold offenders accountable and prevent future crime.

Congratulations Class of 2018!

Our office wants to extend a hearty congratulations to the graduates from Service and Polaris High School! Graduating from high school is a memorable and wonderful achievement. Our office is certainly proud of the many talented individuals who, with diplomas in hand and beaming smiles, walked proudly across those stages. Whether you are going on to a trade school, college (we hope in Alaska!), are enlisting in the armed forces, want to start your own business or are simply looking forward to working a good summer job we wish you all the very best! As you enter this new phase of adulthood we encourage you to take each day as an opportunity and blessing to make our state and country a better place! Congratulations again Class of 2018!

Legislative Success

Over the last two years our office has worked diligently on a variety of bills to improve public safety, strengthen the private sector, reduce the footprint of government, better our schools and help the most vulnerable in our society.

At the end of the 30th Alaska Legislature we saw a number of our bills pass or get rolled into other bills that eventually passed. Those bills are as follows:

House Bill 24 – which listed the dangerous synthetic opioid U-477, also known as Pink, as a schedule 1A controlled substance

House Bill 5/House Bill 23 – which ensured that families whose loved one dies in the line of duty, receive health insurance coverage and benefits

House Bill 367/Senate Bill 202 – which provided relief for Alaska Native Corporations from liability for damages and costs resulting from pre-contaminated lands conveyed to them through the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA)

House Bill 336 – which created a new alternative to guardianship for elderly Alaskans and those experiencing intellectual and developmental disabilities

House Concurrent Resolution 22/Senate Concurrent Resolution 17 – which proclaimed April 2018 as Sexual Assault Awareness Month

 

As always, please reach out if you have any questions or concerns that you would like our office to address!

Kindly,

Public Safety Update!

Friday, April 13th, 2018

As we approach Spring, a time where many will be spending more time outside with family and in our communities, our office wanted to send out an update on public safety.
What is being worked on in the Capitol?
What resources are out there to help communities stay safe?
Public Safety in the Capitol

While I could not support SB 91, those who did acknowledged that it would require alterations during its implementation. It was an enormous change to our criminal laws and procedures, and as we have found out, passing such a large bill can result in unintended consequences. Last fall, the Legislature passed some critically necessary fixes to SB 91, however, our work to improve the accountability and security in our criminal laws is far from over.

Last night, KTVA Channel 11 aired an in-depth report on some of SB 91’s most glaring and dangerous loopholes. I worked with their reporter to present a full picture of just how harmful this new section of the law is to our community.

You can watch the full report below.

The Pretrial Risk Assessment process has gaping holes that currently allow serious criminals out of jail with inadequate or no supervision. There are a few bills this session that seek to expand the scope of the risk assessment tool. However, I believe the best solution is to keep the ultimate decision making authority, over who is safe enough or too dangerous to be released back into our communities, with our judges.
House Bill 335, which I sponsored, unties judges’ hands and allows them to keep hardened criminals and those who are unlikely to show up to mandated court appearances behind bars until their trial. Alaskans should not have to endure situations like those we’ve experienced recently where judges are prevented from stepping in and holding someone in jail, even though they view that person as a clear threat to the public’s safety.
To learn more about this bill, watch my statement below:

 

To much consternation and public outcry, House Bill 335 and other bills attempting to roll-back loopholes and address the consequences of SB 91 have stalled in the Capitol. While we are near the end of session, I remain hopeful that enough support can be gained to pass these before we adjourn. I am working daily to help my colleagues see that these critical fixes are needed, especially when we know they would have an immediate positive impact on public safety.
Many of you have asked for and are wondering whether or not the Legislature is going to support a full repeal of SB 91. I am here to tell you that in addition to voting for a full repeal of SB 91 last fall, I have co-sponsored two different bills (House Bill 311 & 228) that also fully repeal SB91. I intend to keep pressing forward on this issue and will work to see these bills discussed and passed by the Legislature. Neither of these bills have yet been given even initial hearings this session.
What Can You Do?
In addition to advocating for bills that you support and would like to see passed, there are many resources and volunteer opportunities in Anchorage that help to address community safety.
Neighborhood Watch:
Organizing a Neighborhood Watch is an incredibly helpful tool to improving vigilance and preventing crime on a street-by-street level. There may be an existing watch in your area to join, but if you’d like to start one, the Anchorage Police Department wants to help! Click here to find out more about the process.
Community Patrol:
The Anchorage Coalition of Community Patrols is a great resource for those looking to participate in a community patrol group in your area. Community patrols help improve neighborhood safety by keeping a watchful eye on our streets and reporting suspicious activity. South Anchorage has at least three different patrols right now, and you can find their contact information here.
Reporting Crime:
If you have an emergency, please call 9-1-1. However, the Anchorage Police Department is looking to make it easier to report non-emergency activity by calling their new line, 3-1-1, or reporting a crime online here. Non-emergency reports are still a critical way that police build cases against offenders and track patterns of activity in our community.
I know that there is no greater priority than providing for the safety of Alaskans, and as work this session continues, our focus will be on crime prevention and survivor support. We are hopeful that when you have ideas, questions or concerns that you get in touch with us! We are here to serve you!
All my best,

Update for March 9, 2018

Friday, March 9th, 2018

International Women’s Day

Yesterday was International Women’s Day! Today in the Capitol, we celebrated by swearing in Representative Tiffany Zulkosky from District 38. Rep. Zulkosky is the 19th female legislator to be currently serving in the Alaska Legislature. With 19 female legislators, there are now more women serving in state office than ever before!

Our office is incredibly proud of these hard working, caring and dedicated women who represent so many thousands of Alaskans each day!

Additionally, this day makes us all aware of the progress still to be made to ensure that everyone lives safely and free from violence. This week in Juneau, meetings of the Alaska Network on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault, as well as the Council on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault have taken place. Our office has an incredibly strong working partnership with these organizations. We join in their continued legislative and personal efforts for violence prevention and survivor support.

Key Meetings Next Week

As part of our efforts to keep you informed and abreast of what is happening in Juneau, we are including this brief rundown of meetings and hearings occurring next week.

Monday

  • House Finance at 1 p.m., HJR 23 Constitutional Amendment Permanent Fund POMV
  • Senate Health and Social Services at 1:30 p.m., SB 193 Work Requirement for Medicaid

Tuesday

  • House Finance at 1:30 p.m., HJR 23 Constitutional Amendment Permanent Fund POMV

Wednesday

  • House Finance at 1:30 p.m., HB 286 Operating Budget

Thursday

  • Senate Finance at 9 a.m., SB 196 Appropriation Limit
  • House Finance at 1:30 p.m., SB 78 Permanent Fund Dividend Contributions/Lottery

Friday

  • Senate Education at 8 a.m., HB 214 Bree’s Law

 

Budget Progress

Work on the budget has slowed down this week, however, amendments are still being considered. We have reviewed 69 amendments in the House Finance Committee thus far, with roughly 30 left to go. Unfortunately, reductions to the budget have not been approved. In fact, quite the opposite has happened, with millions of dollars being added to the budget. House Republicans remain dedicated to wisely reducing the budget in areas that don’t impact the health or safety of Alaskans. We’ve proposed dozens of targeted reductions that would have saved Alaskans $10+ million, yet all were rejected. Once the budget process is completed in the House Finance Committee, all members will have the ability to review it and offer amendments to the bill on the House floor.

Passing a budget is the Legislature’s sole constitutional mandate. Our goal is to pass the budget through both the House and Senate in the 90-day session. As the budget advances to the House Floor our office will certainly keep you posted on what the final document looks like. Please continue to reach out with your ideas and priorities for the budget this year!

 

Spring Break

 

We sincerely hope our students, teachers and parents enjoy the upcoming Spring Break! As drivers, I know all of us are making sure to be extra aware of kiddos out and about, and hope that everyone will continue to acknowledge school zones and neighborhood speed limits. To our student-athletes, rest up and get ready for the next round of sport seasons that are right around the corner!

Legislation on the Move

Some of our office’s personal legislation is gaining traction! Three of our bills have recently moved from committee: House Bill 336 “Supported Decision-Making Agreements Act,” House Bill 367 dealing with Alaska Native Corporation contaminated lands and House Concurrent Resolution 22 which names April 2018 as Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

We are excited for the progress on these bills and are focusing on others dealing with reforms to our criminal justice system.

Blog Post for February 16, 2018

Friday, February 16th, 2018

Happy Elizabeth Peratrovich Day! What an amazing opportunity to reflect on the work and words of such an important leader in our state. We truly believe that hers is a legacy of fighting for what is right, even when it’s not convenient. We should all strive to live out her legacy each day.

 

Key Meetings Next Week

As part of our efforts to keep you informed and abreast of what is happening in Juneau, we are including this section into our weekly blog.

Monday February 19

  • House Resources at 1 p.m., Presentations and Testimony on Proposed Pebble Mine

Tuesday

  • Senate Finance at 9 a.m., Bills on PFD Contributions to Tribes and General Fund
  • House & Senate Transportation at 12 p.m., Update from Jim Szczesniak, new Manager for Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport

Wednesday

  • Legislative Council Subcommittee on Sexual Harassment at 7 a.m., Draft policy review
  • House Labor and Commerce at 3:15 p.m., Presentation on Economic Trends and Entrepreneurship in Alaska

Thursday

  • Join Session of House and Senate at 11 a.m., Annual Address by Senator Lisa Murkowski
  • House Finance & Resources at 1 p.m., Presentation on China, LNG, & the AK Gas Pipeline by Dr. Wenran Jiang, PhD

Friday

  • Legislative Council Subcommittee on Sexual Harassment at 7 a.m., Draft policy review
  • House Finance at 1 p.m., Operating Budget (HB 286) and review of subcommittee recommendations

Community Council Meeting

Our favorite community council in Anchorage will be meeting next week! Abbott Loop Community Council will gather at Abbott Loop Elementary from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. Our office will be calling in to provide a legislative update!

Likewise, the Home and Landowners Organization for the Anchorage Hillside (HALO) is hosting a municipal Candidate Forum prior to the April 2018 election. On March 1st, HALO will be meeting at O’Malley’s on the Green (3651 O’Malley Rd, Anchorage, AK 99507) from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

We encourage you to attend both events!

Correcting SB 91’s New Risk Assessment Tool

A recent story and event in Anchorage caught our eye, and likely yours. The full story can be found here.  A California woman who was arrested after getting into a shootout at the Northway Mall was released the next day because the state’s new pretrial risk assessment tool (created under SB 91) gave her a risk score of 0. This woman recently moved to Alaska from California and had no criminal record here in state, but an extensive criminal background (including a felony) in California. She has now missed two scheduled court appearances since being mandatorily released.

Efforts are underway to correct this loophole created by SB 91. Our office has introduced House Bill 335, which would allow a judge to consider the risk assessment score in their decision-making process but does not mandate they only use the score to determine whether or not a defendant should be released. Likewise, Governor Walker has introduced House Bill 295, which mandates that a defendant’s out of state criminal history be factored into the risk assessment score.

We will keep you abreast of the progress these bills make throughout the session.

April Election

The Municipality of Anchorage’s regular election will be on Tuesday, April 3, 2018. This year marks a significant shift in how the voting process will be conducted. Instead of the traditional voting process at your local voting station, the Municipality has switched over to a Vote by Mail election process.

Registered voters will be mailed a ballot package roughly three weeks before Election Day. For more information on the process and how to properly return your ballot please check out this link.

Service Sports

Our Cougars have a busy week, even with Presidents Day and an In-Service on Friday. We hope they are successful and triumphant in all their endeavors!

Boys Basketball: The boys have two games this week. On Wednesday the 21st, the boys will face East High on their home court at Service High from 7:30 – 8:30 p.m. On Friday the 23rd Lathrop High will travel south to face our Cougars at Service High from 7:30 – 8:30 p.m.

            Girls Basketball: The girls team will face East High on Wednesday the 21st at home, from 6-7 p.m. Their second game of the week is against Lathrop High, also at home from 6 -7 p.m. on the 23rd.

            Cross-Country Skiing: The Cross-country team will be headed to Fairbanks for three days, to participate in the Cross-country ski skate at Birch Hill Recreation Area (101 Wilderness Dr, Fairbanks, AK 99712). The event takes place on Thursday the 22nd, from 12 – 5 p.m., on Friday the 23rd from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and lastly on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Stay warm up there!

            Drama, Debate & Forensics (DDF): The DDF State championships will take place at East High (E Northern Lights Blvd, Anchorage, AK 99508) over the course of three days. On Thursday it runs from 1:30 – 10 p.m.  Then on Friday the tournament continues from 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. On Saturday it goes from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

            JROTC: The State JROTC Drill Meet is occurring next Saturday the 24th from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. To our future military officers in preparation, we salute you!

February Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month Reminder

As a reminder, February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month in Alaska. Please check out these valuable resources concerning this vitally important topic.

Bree’s Law: www.BreesLaw.org

Talk Now, Talk Often: http://www.tntoak.org/

Our office is open and ready for you to share your questions, ideas and concerns! Please stay in touch this session and come visit us if you find yourself in Juneau. We are here to serve you!

Blog Post for February 9, 2018

Friday, February 9th, 2018

Key Meetings Next Week

As part of our efforts to keep you informed and abreast of what is happening in Juneau, we are including this section into our weekly blog.

Monday

  • Senate Education at 8 a.m., Child Abuse, Training Programs, Bree’s Law
  • Senate Finance at 9 a.m., Presentation on Credit Rating & Debt Analysis

Tuesday

  • Senate Finance at 9 a.m., Presentation: FY19 Operating Budget & Deferred Maintenance regarding University of Alaska
  • House & Senate Resources at 12 p.m., Update on Alaska’s Mining Industry & Projects

Wednesday

  • Senate Health & Social Services at 1:30 p.m., Presentation on Alaska Tribal Child Welfare Compact
  • Lunch & Learn at 12 p.m., Alaska Air Carriers Association

Thursday

  • House Fisheries at 11 a.m., Presentation on Permitting Process by DNR
  • House Transportation at 1:15 p.m., Presentation on the Alaska Marine Highway System Reform Initiative

Friday

  • House Resources at 1 p.m., Presentation on Pebble Mine Update
  • House Finance at 1:30 p.m., Budget Amendments by Governor’s Office

Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention

Last week, our office joined Butch and Cindy Moore to see the Governor sign a proclamation declaring February as Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month. Alaska’s young people all deserve to live healthy, safe lives and we as adults have a role in helping them develop respectful relationships and a knowledge of how to treat others. After losing their young daughter, Bree, to dating violence, the Moore Family has dedicated their lives and her legacy to saving and changing the lives of teens in Alaska. They have put together a bevy of resources for teens and adults to help prevent future violence, which can be found at www.BreesLaw.org

We know it isn’t always easy to breach these important topics. A statewide group of parents and caregivers have also compiled easy and effective ways to start important conversations about relationships with teens in a project called Talk Now, Talk Often, which can be found here: http://www.tntoak.org/

Take this month, and every month, to make sure that the young people in your life are safe and successful in all their relationships.

Public Safety Update

There are many pieces of legislation being considered by the Legislature this session to address the state’s ongoing public safety crisis. We wanted to give you an update on the policy discussions we’re having right now:

–        House Bill 335: This bill, brought forward by our office, puts bail and release decisions back in the hands of judges. Senate Bill 91 created a system by which a defendant, after their arrest, could be released without a judge’s discretion if they received a certain “score” from a state-created algorithm. It makes many Alaskans feel unsafe knowing that a computer’s score is deciding whether someone is safe to release back into the community before their trial. We have a system of judges for a reason, and they should be given the opportunity to evaluate all the information in front of them before letting an offender out of jail.

–        House Bill 295: Our state’s prosecutors brought forward this bill which allows a judge to consider an offender’s out-of-state criminal history before deciding whether they can be released on bail. Senate Bill 91 failed to take into account that an offender’s criminal history extends beyond Alaska’s borders when it set up a new scheme for bail decisions.

–        House Bill 292: This bill addresses a problem that unfortunately plagues our state: drug trafficking. When a person is caught with a large amount of drugs and is clearly intending to deal, HB 292 would allow prosecutors to charge them with our highest level of felony. This would also allow for an increased ability to track the sources of drugs coming in from out of state.

–        House Bill 291: Another bill from our state prosecutors, this would allow the state to better respond to the ever-changing chemistry of designer drugs on the market. The Attorney General would be permitted to add new kinds of dangerous and illegal drugs to the schedule that is used to prosecute dealers, instead of waiting through a lengthy process to pass individual legislation as new mixtures come to light.

–        House Bill 311: This bill, sponsored by our member from Palmer and co-sponsored by our office, works to unwind the changes made to criminal laws by Senate Bill 91. As the state tries to end this public safety crisis, prosecutors, judges and police officers need as many tools as possible to address crime and get dangerous people off the streets.

We hope all these bills will be heard and discussed in our public committee process, but thus far none have made it on the schedules of the House or Senate Judiciary Committees. If you’re interested in contacting those committees or learning more about their process, you can contact:

House Judiciary Committee
Senate Judiciary Committee

Service Sports

Our favorite sports teams in Alaska are gearing up for a big week! We want to keep you posted on their games so that you and the family can attend.

Boys Basketball: On Tuesday the 13th, at 7:30 p.m. the boys will face off against Chugiak High at Chugiak (Chugiak High School, 16525 S Birchwood Loop Rd, Chugiak, AK 99567). Then, come Thursday the 15th at 7:30 p.m., the boys will play at home against Bartlett! Topping off their week the boys will go up against Dimond High, at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, on their home court.

Girls Basketball: Also, on Tuesday the 13th, at 6 p.m., the girls will face Chugiak in Chugiak. Like the boys, the girls will face Bartlett High on our home court (Service High School, 5577 Abbott Rd, Anchorage, AK 99507). Finishing the week, the girls will host Dimond High at 6 p.m. Saturday, the 17th on their home court.

Cross Country Skiing: On Friday the 16th, the Ski team will participate in the Region IV Freestyle from 12 – 5 p.m. at Kincaid Park (Kincaid Park, 9401 Raspberry Rd, Anchorage, AK 99502). The team will continue the meet on Saturday the 17th from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Update for January 19, 2018

Friday, January 19th, 2018

Return of Friday Blog!

With constituent Arianna Cocallas

 

Happy to be in Juneau

Serving you is our office’s great honor. As we complete the first week of the 2nd Session of the 30th Alaska Legislature we want to let you know how grateful we are for your trust to represent your collective interests and vision for our great state. Though the last few years have been rather challenging for our entire state, we are truly optimistic and encouraged about what 2018 has in store.

Oil prices continue to rise – boosting state revenues and making projects more economical daily. Production through the Trans Alaska Pipeline System has increased two years in a row, and is set for a record third year of increase. Billions of barrels of new oil have been discovered on the North Slope, and many companies are planning extensive exploration programs this winter. The recession hopefully seems to be levelling off – with fewer jobs projected to be lost this year than in the previous two years. Our tourism industry smashed visitor records in 2017, and 2018 is projected to be even better. Mineral prices are up and the future for mining is shining bright like the many precious metals we have in Alaska. Fisherman from South East to Dutch Harbor are enjoying higher prices for their catch, and in Bristol Bay record numbers of wild sockeye salmon are returning.

However, not everything is bright and rosy. As too many of you have experienced first-hand, crime is out of control and a destructive opioid epidemic is sweeping across Alaska. State government still faces a multi-billion-dollar deficit, and our traditional savings accounts have been depleted as a result of our decrease in revenue.

For these reasons we are focused on increasing tools and support for our public safety and law enforcement community. Wise use of our state’s incredible assets, combined with targeted reductions in state government, will enable us to close the budget deficit this year and provide stability for the economy for years to come.

 

Key Meetings Next Week

As part of our efforts to keep you informed and abreast of what is happening in Juneau, we will be incorporating a new section into our weekly blog focused on key meetings occurring the following week.

Week of January 22-26th

              Monday

Senate Finance at 9 a.m., 2017 Fall Revenue Forecast Presentation

House Resources at 1 p.m., House Bill 288 – new oil tax legislation

              Tuesday           

Senate Finance at 9.m., Permanent Fund Corporation Overview

House Finance at 1:30 p.m., House Bill 286/285 – budget overview by Legislative Finance

              Wednesday

House Education and Early Development at 8 a.m., K-12 education budget overview and funding for school districts

House Resources at 1 p.m., Alaska Gasline Development Corporation overview of the AKLNG Project

              Thursday

House Education at 12 p.m., Workforce Readiness Presentation by Microsoft

Senate Labor and Commerce at 1:30 p.m., How do we best train Alaskans for jobs – presentation by various industries

             Friday

House Education and Early Development at 8 a.m., K-12 funding and K-12 support services

Senate Resources at 3:30 p.m., Alaska’s oil production forecast

 

Community Council

Next week our favorite community council in Anchorage, the Abbott Loop Community Council, is hosting its monthly meeting! On Thursday the 25th the community will gather at Abbott Loop Elementary School from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. An update from community leaders, along with a discussion of the proposed area wide solution to our roads, trails and drainage issues as described in the Hillside District Plan will occur.

If you need more information, or can’t make the meeting but want to review what occurred we suggest you contact Bruce Roberts (brucearoberts@hotmail.com) the President of the Council, or check out their website found here!

 

Service Sports

Cougar athletes have a busy week ahead of them! From basketball to hockey it is going to be an exciting week! Here’s the schedule for our Varsity teams:

Boys Hockey:

Thursday at 6:30 p.m. vs West High, located at Ben Boeke Indoor Ice Arenas, 534 E 16th Ave, Anchorage, AK 99501

Boys Basketball:

Monday at 7:30 p.m. vs Dimond High, located at Dimond High School, 2909 W 88th Ave, Anchorage, AK 99502

Girls Basketball:

Monday at 6 p.m. vs Dimond High, located at Dimond High School, 2909 W 88th Ave, Anchorage, AK 99502

Cross Country Skiing:

Saturday at 11 a.m., Skiathlon Relay, located at Kincaid Park, 9401 Raspberry Rd, Anchorage, AK 99502

 

With Girdwood born, Canadian Olympic Figure Skater, Keegan Messing

 

As we mentioned in our brief update earlier this week, our office is open and ready for you to share your questions, ideas and concerns! Please stay in touch this session, and come visit us if you find yourself in Juneau. We are here to serve you!

Thanksgiving Update!

Tuesday, November 21st, 2017

Good afternoon,

We hope you had a wonderful, albeit chilly, weekend and are looking forward to a wonderful Thanksgiving. Our office will be closed in observance of the holiday, and hope that you get time to surround yourself with loved ones.

Special Session Adjourns

Today, the 4th Special Session adjourned, and the Legislature returned to interim status. During this special session, the Legislature considered and passed one of the items on the Governor’s agenda, the criminal justice bill, and did not pass the remaining item, a payroll tax.
As we’ve detailed in previous updates, the criminal justice bill, Senate Bill 54, passed both the House and the Senate and now awaits the Governor’s signature before it can become law. While some concerns about certain provisions of the bill arose before the bill’s passage, it appears that the Department of Law has reached a solution moving forward.
The next time the Legislature convenes will be for the regular session on January 16th, 2018.

Lend a Hand This Thanksgiving

Are you and your loved ones looking for ways to share the blessings of this holiday with those in need? Here are a few opportunities for you to participate in around town:

  • Beans Cafe: Drop off items like store bought pies, whipped topping (in cans), marshmallows, canned vegetables and breakfast meats. Please deliver directly to Bean’s Cafe at 1101 E. 3rd Avenue.
  • Food Bank of Alaska: Always accepting food items at their location on 2121 Spar Avenue in Anchorage
  • AWAIC: Consider donating gifts for women and children experiencing abuse. Email ruawaic@awaic.org for more information.
  • Salvation Army of Alaska: Help prepare and deliver meals to Older Alaskans on Thanksgiving Day. Click here for more information.

Heading into this holiday season, many opportunities exist for you to donate your time and resources. We will keep you posted in the coming weeks!

 

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 you can follow me on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Warmly,

Update for November 3, 2017

Friday, November 3rd, 2017

Special Session Update

Here in Juneau, the focus has been on continued work on Senate Bill 54 (SB 54), the crime bill. Last night, the House Finance Committee finished their amendment process, and included in the new draft of the bill provisions to increase sentencing and monitoring of sex offenders, lower the felony theft threshold (now thefts of over $750 become felonies), add caseload caps for probation and parole officers, and more. This weekend, all members of the House will have opportunities to discuss and offer further changes to the bill on the House floor.

As SB 54 is debated on the floor, I will be working to see that recommendations by our law enforcement and criminal justice practitioners are brought to the forefront, and discussed by the House. When our police and prosecutors are telling us that they need more tools to keep our communities safe, you know that our law must change.

I am glad to see the direction that amendments have taken so far, but to further deter crime and bolster law enforcement during this period of increasing instability, more work still needs to be done. Areas of focus for me will be rolling back dramatic sentencing reductions made in SB 91, ensuring that only those who truly present no threat to society are released from jail, further strengthening laws related to crime, and ensuring that our justice system is communicating and working effectively. We also need to be working as a Legislature to further establish the safety nets our communities need to turn around the lives of those with substance abuse issues.

There is another item on the Governor’s special session agenda outside of crime: his new tax plan. The Senate has been holding hearings on this bill. I suspect the House will return to reviewing it once work on the crime bill is completed. During the evaluation of this new income tax, I will be asking for information on its impacts on Alaskan households, businesses, and our overall economy. Nothing we do as a Legislature should adversely impact our already struggling economy, and I will be fighting to make sure that Alaskans have a voice in this process.

Our office will be keeping you posted as this special session continues. Please keep reaching out to our office with all your questions, ideas and concerns!

 

PTA Meetings Galore

Next week is an incredibly busy time for our schools! Four different schools are having their PTA meetings during the first half of next week. Abbott Loop parents and teachers will gather on Monday the 6th at 3:45 p.m. in the Library. On Tuesday we find a full slate of meetings. Dedicated parents will meet up at 3:45 p.m. in the Trailside Library. At 4:00 p.m. parents from Polaris K-12 will convene at the school, followed by Hanshew’s PTA meeting at 6:00 p.m. in their Library.

 

Big Brothers Big Sisters

On November 9th, at 5:30 p.m. Big Brothers Big Sisters is inviting the public to attend a live, as well as silent, art auction featuring local artists, with all proceeds going to benefit the youth in our community.

Their event, “Dream Big Anchorage,” is going to be at the Fox Hollow Chalet (11801 Fox Hollow Chalet Anchorage, AK 99516). More information about this wonderful event and organization can be found at their website here!

 

End of Season Gathering!

Our tough and hard-working Service High School football team is throwing an end of season celebration! The event will be at the school on November 13th at 6:00 p.m. See below for details about the event! Go Cougars!

Honoring Veterans Day through Music

The Anchorage Symphony Orchestra has put together an amazing looking event to honor our veterans. On November 11th at the Atwood Concert Hall they will be paying tribute to the incredible men and women who have served our nation. Through symphonic photo-choreography, the Anchorage Symphony and others will commemorate the 100th and 75th anniversaries of WWI and WWII respectively. To learn more about this event click here. 

 

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 you can follow me on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Just click on the links below. We are listening.
Warmly,

Update for October 27, 2017

Friday, October 27th, 2017

Special Session Update

This Monday, the Legislature gaveled in to special session, with two pieces of legislation to consider: Senate Bill 54 and House Bill 4001. Hearings on both bills are occurring in the House, and we wanted to be sure you received an update as we progress through the session.

Senate Bill 54:

Senate Bill 54 makes specific changes to our current criminal law, which was overhauled in 2016 by Senate Bill 91. As introduced, Senate Bill 54 makes changes including increased sentences for Class C felonies, increased sentences for violating release conditions and protections for victims of sex trafficking. While these changes give more tools back to law enforcement and prosecutors, those same groups are also asking for additional amendments to better protect the public. In the House Judiciary Committee, our office succeeded at gaining support for a few changes including:

–          Sober Law: requires that an intoxicated person who is arrested must sober-up before they are released (or have a sober caretaker).

–          Repeal of Administrative Parole: requires that those seeking parole must have a hearing before the parole board before their release, not just an automatic release.

–          Criminalization of “Pink,” a deadly opiate with no medical use

–          Increased sentences for a Class A felony committed against a law enforcement officer or first responder

This bill now heads to the Finance Committee, where it will be further considered. Our office is continuing to push for changes requested during hours of public testimony, and requested by those in law enforcement. We have many more amendments to this bill, which we will fight for on the House floor.

House Bill 4001:

House Bill 4001 is the Governor’s new “employment tax,” which is a tax of 1.5% on wages and self-employment income. This bill has received one hearing in the House Finance Committee, and will continue to be evaluated by that committee through the session.

You can find more information on the Governor’s tax here.

It has been a busy week here in Juneau, and we’ll keep you posted as things keep moving.

 

Public Testimony on Crime

Tomorrow and Monday there are opportunities for you to share your thoughts and experiences with crime in Alaska. Here are the details:

WHAT: Public Testimony on Senate Bill 54 in House Finance Committee

WHEN: Saturday from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. and Monday from 5 p.m. – 9 p.m.

WHERE: Anchorage LIO or by phone at (907) 563-9085

We want to hear from you!

 

Service Student Shines in Gifted Mentorship Program!

This week we have the incredible honor to share a wonderful story of a Service High Senior by the name of Jayci VanDehey! Jayci has been participating in the ASD’s Gifted Mentorship Program, studying technical aspects of musical theatre with the crew of Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella team.

To read more about Jayci’s success and experience with the Gifted Mentorship Program click here!

Board of Game Meeting

In a few weeks Alaskans will be afforded an opportunity to participate in the process of crafting regulations regarding all aspects of hunting throughout our state.

From November 10-17 the Alaska Board of Game will hold its Statewide Regulations Meeting at the Lakefront Anchorage Hotel, in the Redington Ballroom (4800 Spenard Road Anchorage, AK 99517). The Board will entertain proposals to change regulations related to the use and taking of game, along with a variety of public recommendations concerning permits, licenses, transportation, hunt conditions, fees, and customary and traditional uses of game populations.

As noted on their website, “the proposed regulation changes are available on the Board of Game website at www.adfg.alaska.gov/index.cfm?adfg=gameboard.meetinginfo&date=11-10-2017&meeting=anchorage, or from the ADF&G Boards Support Section Office at (907) 465-4110. Additional meeting information will be added to the website as it becomes available.”

Comments on the different proposals can be submitted online at: www.boardofgame.adfg.alaska.gov or by fax to (907) 465-6094, or emailed to dfg.bog.comments@alaska.gov (PDF format only). Alaskans will also be able give oral testimony (three to five minutes) on the proposals at the meeting.

Construction Wrap Up

The hardworking men and women of DOT and contracting crews from Quality Asphalt Paving (QAP) have set up a new traffic pattern along the Seward Highway that will remain in effect till spring. See their latest announcement below:

NEW TRAFFIC PATTERN: Southbound Seward Highway traffic has transitioned onto the newly constructed southbound Seward Highway. Northbound Seward Highway traffic is now on the newly constructed northbound Seward Highway. Note that this traffic configuration is temporary and only in effect through the winter. Additional work to complete the project will occur next year.

For more information, please call DOT at 770-2612, QAP at 522-2211 or visit http://AlaskaNavigator.org

Meetings Next Week

A variety of great community events are occurring next week. On Wednesday November 1st Kasuun Elementary is having its PTA meeting. Parents and teachers will gather in the school Library at 4 p.m. to plan future events and gathers for the kids!

Then on Thursday the 2nd the Home and Landowners Organization for the Anchorage Hillside (or HALO) has their regular Board meeting at 7 p.m. HALO meets at the Holy Spirit Retreat Center on the Corner of Hillside and O’Malley.

 

Thank you so much for taking the time to read our update! Please don’t hesitate to call or email with questions or concerns.

Have a great weekend,