Archive for the ‘Anchorage Issues’ Category

Update for October 13, 2017

Friday, October 13th, 2017

Happy Friday the Thirteenth! We hope you’ve had a lovely week, and are looking forward to a restful and relaxing weekend.

Senate Bill 91 Testimony and Survey!

As you most likely are aware, over the past two months Anchorage has been full of opportunities for residents to share and discuss experiences and solutions regarding crime. One of the most prevalent topics of discussion is whether to repeal, change or maintain Senate Bill 91 (SB 91). Our office has been so grateful to attend and participate in many of these community dialogues, and to have heard from so many in Anchorage. Most recently, we attended the Anchorage Assembly’s public testimony meeting regarding SB 91, and listened to over 100 people from across the city.

However, we want to ensure that everyone has an opportunity to speak up and share their thoughts. Therefore, we have created a very brief survey on SB 91. Please take a minute to respond to the 2 quick questions on the survey, and if you’d like to share more, give us a call or send us an email!

 

Tip-A-Cop

 

Burgers, bottomless French fries and the opportunity to support Special Olympics Alaska? Now that sounds like my kind of lunch/dinner!

Join Special Olympics Alaska and Red Robin for Tip-A-Cop on Thursday, October 19 at BOTH Red Robin locations in Anchorage (Dimond & Tikatnu) for lunch or dinner (11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5 to 9 p.m.).

Local law enforcement personnel and athletes will be serving and raising money for Special Olympics Alaska athletes statewide. Come thank them for their service and give ’em a tip! 100% of the donations will benefit Special Olympics Alaska athletes statewide!

 

Securing Your Property

As our office was walking the District again this week we noticed many trailers, motorcycles, plows, boats, ATVS, campers and snow machines without locks or chains, and sitting in driveways or yards totally unsecured. Unfortunately, given the rash of vehicle and large ticket item thefts in town, it is no longer wise nor safe to leave your property (especially expensive pieces of cherished equipment) unsecured.

We want to help you prevent having your Alaskan toys, which you worked hard for, stolen and trashed. Hence, we strongly encourage everyone who has a trailer, ATVS, snow machines, boat or any other large expensive piece of equipment stored at their home to immediately get heavy duty locks and chains to prevent its theft.

Below are some different examples of locks/theft prevention systems you and your neighbors should employ to protect your property.

 

Farmer’s Markets Wrapping Up

This weekend, take a break from your pre-winter chores and check out the final harvest from our great local farms! Most farmer’s markets in Anchorage will be wrapping up this Saturday, but still have amazing veggies, meats and other delicious offerings to share. For a list of, and information about the markets around town, check out this recent article:

https://www.adn.com/alaska-life/food-drink/2017/10/03/dont-miss-the-last-weekend-of-the-year-for-several-popular-farmers-markets/

Identifying Nuisance Properties

For those of you dealing with consistent crime in your neighborhood, specifically crime activity located at individual properties, we want to share with you a tactic described to us by a man who attended our crime townhall. After witnessing countless drug deals, cars coming at all hours of the night, people passing out in vehicles in front of the home, stolen property always circulating around, and trash and junk accumulating at a house across the street from him, this man began to call APD continuously and report the criminal activity at this property.

After the 8th call and response to a property, APD can begin assessing $500 fines (per visit) against the homeowner. This strategy helped motivate the landlord of said “problem property” to evict the current tenants and clean up the place. This type of similar occurrence has been reported on.

If you are experiencing such an issue in your neighborhood, don’t give up and think that nothing can be done! Give this strategy a whirl, and as always stay safe and report crimes to APD.

If it is not an emergency, call 907-786-8900 and press “0.” If it is an emergency call 911.

 

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,

 

Update for September 22, 2017

Friday, September 22nd, 2017

Crime Town Hall

On Wednesday, my office was privileged to attend a meeting with local business owners and concerned citizens regarding the rampant outbreak of crime in our city. It was a thoughtful discussion and most in attendance agreed that changes must be made to our criminal justice system, specifically relating to Senate Bill 91 (the criminal justice overhaul legislation that became law in 2016). In recent weeks and months, my office has been listening to constituents and their concerns over public safety and crime in Anchorage and our state.

To further this discussion my office is hosting a Crime Town Hall on Monday September 25th, at 6:30 p.m. at Abbott Loop Elementary. My office will be there to listen to your concerns, answers your questions and work together to address the out of control crime in our city.

We hope you can attend!

 

Special Session Proclamation

This afternoon Governor Bill Walker released his proclamation for the fourth special session of 2017. Two items are on the call of the special session: Senate Bill 54 and another version of an income tax.

Below is the official proclamation from Governor Walker.

 

I look forward to taking this opportunity to fight for the changes in our criminal laws that neighbors have been pleading for. We all deserve to live in a city and state that stands up for residents and crime victims.

 

Construction Update

As we near the end of the construction season, and beginning of the darker time of the year, we encourage everyone to be aware of the hardworking Alaskans working along our roads and thoroughfares.

DOT has provided another update on the major efforts and work occurring along the Seward Highway and Dowling this week. Please be advised of these road closure alerts.

From the DOT:

Road Closure

  • FUTURE ROAD CLOSURE: Beginning 8:00pm Friday, September 29, the roundabouts along Dowling Road near the Seward Highway (as well as the Seward Highway exit ramps) will be CLOSED through 5:30am Monday, October 2. Please plan to follow DETOUR routes via Tudor Road and Dimond Boulevard/Abbott Road. 

What You Need to Know

  • Be alert to daily LANE CLOSURES and DELAYS from 9:00am to 3:30pm and from 8:00pm to 5:30am along Dowling Road and its roundabouts. 

For more information and current updates on the project you may follow it here: http://alaskanavigator.org/projects/dowling-road-old-seward-highway-lake-otis-parkway-pavement-preservation

 

Community Council Elections

Our favorite community council in Anchorage, Abbott Loop Community Council (ALCC), is having its yearly Officer and Board of Directors elections next Thursday September 28th! We encourage you to attend to see who will be the new leaders of our District’s community council.

For more information on how to participate in the election process, or to just become involved with the ALCC, contact: Bruce Roberts, President of the ALCC at brucearoberts@hotmail.com or 907-952-9969

 

Thank you so much for taking the time to read our update! We hope that as we inch closer to this special session, and just in general, you stay in touch! Please don’t hesitate to call or email with questions or concerns.

Have a great weekend,

Update for August 18, 2017

Friday, August 18th, 2017

Happy Friday! We hope you’ve had a great week and have been staying dry and warm during all of this bleary weather. Should we believe the forecasts that Saturday will be sunny? Here’s hoping!

 

First Day of School!

This is the last weekend of summer for our ASD kids! The official start to the 2017-2018 school year is Monday August 21st for all grades except Kindergarten, which starts the following Monday August, 28th.

We hope everyone has a wonderful final weekend of summer vacation and that the beginning this new school year goes well. To our amazing ASD teachers we wish you all the best!

 

APD Ride Along

Our office was truly grateful to be given the opportunity to participate in a ride-along with the Anchorage Police Department and Officer Marcos Weinrick this week. Riding in a patrol car during the 3PM to 1AM shift, our staff member, Hans, was able to get a first-hand look at some of the duties, responsibilities and experiences our APD officers face every day. Not only was Officer Weinrick an amazing educator, explaining the day-to-day of an officer patrolling our community, but is also an exemplary public servant, keeping our city safe. Our office has participated in these ride-alongs nearly every year, and we consistently gain incredible insight into the challenges and successes of our police force. One of the constants this year has been the requests from law enforcement for reform to Senate Bill 91, the recent criminal justice overhaul bill. Our officers need more tools, not fewer, to assist victims and hold offenders accountable – especially those they witness offending over and over again. Our office is committed to working on ways to make their jobs easier and our community safer, and look forward to future ride-alongs – including Rep. Millett’s next week!

Thank you to APD for letting us participate and for your continued service and sacrifice. A special good luck to Officer Weinrick as he recovers from his knee injury and pursuit of joining the K-9 Unit!

 

 

Sports in Full Swing

Our Service Cougar sports teams are really beginning to heat up! On Saturday a variety of meets and games happening that are sure to be full of action, competition and celebration.

Football: The C & JV game will kick-off at 1pm, while the Varsity game starts at 4pm.

Swimming: At 10am, the entire swim team is headed over to Bartlett High for the Big 8 Invitation.

Cross Country: Our amazing runners will be venturing down to Soldotna to participate in the Tsalteshi Invite at Skyview High. The race is expected to get underway at 12pm.

 

 

Weekly Seward Highway Update

The Department of Transportation has some new information on the progress of the ongoing construction on the Seward Highway:

NEW TRAFFIC PATTERN: Southbound Seward Highway traffic has shifted from the Seward Highway to Homer Drive, which now acts the southbound Seward Highway. Northbound Seward Highway traffic has shifted from the Seward Highway to Brayton Drive, which now acts 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.

 

 

Late Summer Events

The website Visit Anchorage has an incredible amount of fantastic events located all throughout our city. Follow the link below to see a sample of what is taking place over the next week in town – click here!

Art exhibits! Brewery tours! Exploring a fish hatchery! Food trucks! Get out there and have some fun!

 

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Thank you so much for your interest and engagement! We hope you stay in touch via phone, email or social media!

 

All my best,

 

Update for August 11, 2017

Friday, August 11th, 2017

Celebrating Peak-Baggers

We are so proud of Service-grad and neighbor Peter Mamrol and his climbing partner Lars Arneson! On July 22, 2017, the two Anchorage-born climbers set a new record for crossing the Front Link-up of the Chugach Mountain Range, clocking in at 18 hours and 10 minutes. The first to do so in under 22 hours, Lars and Peter were able to traverse 44 miles, top 12 peaks, and climb a total of 20,800 feet.

Alaskans through and through, Lars and Peter both grew up as outdoorsmen, running and skiing their whole lives, including during their college careers. Both had summited various peaks in the Front Range previously, though neither had completed the range until their record-setting adventure. Along with the beauty of our mountain ranges that all Alaskans enjoy, our state is proud to celebrate those who have the perseverance and initiative to master these peaks. Congratulations to these young men, who inspire us to push beyond our limits and revel in our great Alaskan playground.

 

Anchorage Crime Stoppers

Are you familiar with Anchorage Crime Stoppers? We have all seen the signs around our city, but few know the resources at their disposal to help keep us all safe. Crime Stoppers relies on cooperation between the police, the media, and the general community to provide a flow of information about crime and criminals. If you have information about a crime you witness, see on the news, hear about from neighbors, or see in a Nixle alert, you can provide a tip on the phone or online.

Crime Stoppers encourages members of the community to assist local law enforcement agencies in the fight against crime by overcoming the two key elements that inhibit community involvement: fear and apathy. Crime Stoppers provides a telephone number and web tips to encourage citizens to provide vital information to law enforcement agencies to fight against crime. This site is NOT monitored 24-hours a day. If the tip you are providing is life threatening, call the Anchorage Police Department immediately, dial 911. Callers can remain anonymous and are eligible to receive a cash reward if the information given leads to the arrest of a wanted felon or solves a felony crime.  A tipster’s initial call or web tip must be made to Crime Stoppers to be eligible for the reward. Tipsters working directly with police are not eligible for a reward through Crime Stoppers. Crime Stoppers relies on volunteer directors and tax deductible contributions from the public in order to operate the program.

For more information, visit: http://www.anchoragecrimestoppers.com/sitemenu.aspx?P=howitworks&ID=124

Nextdoor

Another great tool for staying aware of what is happening in your neighborhood is the app/website Nextdoor. Essentially, Nextdoor is a private social network for people to connect with those who live close to them. In our office we love using Nextdoor to learn of fun events happening in the neighborhood, staying abreast of criminal activity, recommend services and good to our neighbors and help track down lost pets!

This piece of technology is a great way to become more engaged with your surroundings, watch out for your neighbors and likely make some new friends! We encourage you to download the app and sign up for this great tool!

 

Let’s Get Ready to Rumble!

It’s that time of year again when the leaves began to change colors, the air gets a little cooler and our beloved Service Cougar Football players hit the field! This is opening weekend for our boys in gold & green. We couldn’t be more excited for them to get back on the gridiron and secure their first victory! Both the JV and Varsity teams play this Saturday, August 12th, against Colony High. We’ve got home field advantage to start off the season, with the JV game beginning at 1pm and the Varsity game kicking off by 4pm.

Get out there and cheer on the home team! To keep up on their season, follow the team on their Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/ServiceCougarFootball/

Go Cougars!!

 

Community Council

The Abbott Loop Community Council will be hosting its August meeting at the end of the month. On August 31st at Abbott Loop Elementary the Council will gather from 6:30-8:30pm and discuss pressing matters such as road construction, Municipal issues, and other neighborhood concerns. For additional information contact: Bruce Roberts, President brucearoberts@hotmail.com or 907-952-9969.

 

Continued Construction

Our favorite road project keeps plugging along. It appears DOT and the contractor, Quality Asphalt Paving, will be continuing to work 24/7 into mid-October – or until the snow comes! Below is their weekly update:

Wednesday, August 9

NEW TRAFFIC PATTERN: Southbound Seward Highway traffic has shifted from the Seward Highway to Homer Drive, which now acts the southbound Seward Highway. Northbound Seward Highway traffic has shifted from the Seward Highway to Brayton Drive, which now acts 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.

Update for August 4th

Friday, August 4th, 2017

Happy Friday to you from Anchorage! We hope school registration this week went well for you and your family!

Over the next few weeks a great number of events are happening throughout the District and around Anchorage. We hope to see you at some of them – as there is nothing better than interacting with the community we all love.

 

Anchorage Greek Festival

The 23rd annual Alaska Greek festival is right around the corner! The festival, which is always a favorite of ours to attend, will be happening August 18th through August 20th. All the festivities will be occurring at The Holy Transfiguration Greek Orthodox Church located at 2800 O’Malley Road in Anchorage. Come enjoy the great food, fun and people all for free!

For more details of the event click here. Opa!

 

Grown Local, Shop Local!

The South Anchorage Farmers Market (SAFM) is still going strong for another few months as we continue to have good weather. There are endless amounts of delicious, fresh and economical produce and seafood at the market for your choosing!

If you’ve got time on Wednesdays, stop on by anytime from 10am – 4pm behind the Dimond Center/in front of the Dimond Center Hotel to get your fill. Likewise, for a more family oriented outing we recommend heading over to the Subway/Cellular One Sports Center (on the corner of O’Malley & Old Seward) on Saturdays from 9am – 2pm. For more info, or to take a look at all the amazing Alaskan vendors at the market click here!

 

Back to School Nights

During the final week before school kicks back up, both Kasuun Elementary PTA and Trailside Elementary PTA are hosting back to school gatherings at their respective schools. On August 17th from 4:30pm – 5:30pm at Trailside Elementary, the PTA is hosting a back to school night. Students and parents will be able to find out which teacher they have been assigned starting at 3:30pm, and then get to meet their teachers out on the playground at 4:30pm.

At Kasuun, the PTA is putting on a back to school ice cream social on August 18th. The social will be from 3pm – 5pm at the school. Similar to the way Trailside is conducting their social, students and teachers get to see their class list, mingle with PTA board members and have some tasty ice cream!

 

Construction Update

The Seward Highway project from Dowling to Dimond remains underway. This week DOT provided another overview of traffic patterns and ongoing work.

NEW TRAFFIC PATTERN: Southbound Seward Highway traffic has shifted from the Seward Highway to Homer Drive, which now acts the southbound Seward Highway. Northbound Seward Highway traffic has shifted from the Seward Highway to Brayton Drive, which now acts 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.

 

Thank you so much for your engagement, and we hope you’ll stay in touch!

 

All my best,

Charisse

Juneau Update for May 22, 2017

Monday, May 22nd, 2017

Special Session in Juneau

After butting up against the Constitutionally-mandated 121-day deadline, the Legislature was called by the Governor into a special session in Juneau.

These are the items Governor Walker would like to see passed this special session:

  • Broad-based tax, like an income tax
  • Motor fuels tax
  • Permanent Fund Restructure
  • Oil and gas tax credit reform
  • Operating, Capital and Mental Health Budgets
  • A bill related to the prescription and monitoring of opioids

This has been a particularly frustrating legislative session, filled with gridlock and lack of compromise. However, I view this special session as an opportunity to set aside our differences and tackle the issues on which there is agreement. I am hopeful this special session results in meaningful progress towards fiscal solutions for Alaska, a sustainable budget, changes to our tax credit system, and a cap on future government growth. We will keep you posted as the session moves forward!

Office Changes

My office, going into the summer and fall, will be undergoing some changes. In light of budget constraints facing our state, I will be reducing my staff by 1/3. Grace Abbott and Hans Rodvik in my office will be staying on and will continue to work hard to help us get our work done, answer your questions, and brainstorm ideas to help our community and Alaska. They are ready and willing to pick up a little extra slack, as many of us are doing right now, and are just as enthusiastic of public servants as ever. Stop by the office and introduce yourself, or give us a shout at 465-3879!

Ridesharing for Alaska

Before the end of the extended regular session, I was incredibly proud to vote in favor of bringing transportation network companies, like Lyft and Uber, to our state. Both residents and visitors have been asking the Legislature to bring Alaska into the 21st century and allow these companies to operate here. Our state faces any number of transportation obstacles, and we can use all the help we can get in improving access to rides. Thank you to everyone who wrote us in support of this job-creating policy – we received more letters, emails and calls in support from constituents on ridesharing than any other issue this year! I am excited to see the increased transportation opportunities that this bill will bring to Alaska, as well as the new employment opportunities. Start downloading your favorite ridesharing app today!

Education Funding

Many of you, both in District 25 and outside, have been asking the Legislature to pass a budget that funds education to at least last year’s level. I can tell you that personally, I agree. While our budget climate requires reductions and changes be made to the way our state spends, a successful future depends on our providing for education. I believe if we ensure some stability for districts this year, educators and administrators will be better enabled to produce efficiencies and improvements in education delivery. Without the stress of reducing their workforce this summer, districts can focus more on addressing budget challenges and innovating to reduce the effects of reduced revenue on classrooms.

In no way do I believe that those who would like to see our education budget reduced this year want to diminish outcomes or depreciate our public schools. We have a budget crisis on our hands, and looking through our school districts’ budgets, there appear to be more ways that spending could be scaled back or duplication reduced. It is simply my personal belief that if we hold school funding as harmless as possible this year, our results will be better down the road. I will be advocating for this position both in my caucus, and to my colleagues in the House and Senate. Please reach out with any questions or ideas on how we can improve our students’ experiences.

Abbott Loop Community Council

This Thursday, the 26th at 6:30pm the Abbott Loop Community Council is holding its May meeting. The meeting will take place at Abbott Loop Elementary, which is located 8427 Lake Otis Parkway. Community Council meetings are a great way to meet more of your neighbors, and get to know what is going on in your local area! I encourage you to go and look forward to seeing you at the next meeting when I’m home from Juneau!

School Is Out!

The last day of school for all Anchorage School District schools, is this Wednesday May 24th! I hope everyone has a safe, fun and productive summer! Congratulations to all the students who had another successful year!

Update for May 8, 2017

Monday, May 8th, 2017

Cougar Crossover Ceremony!

Last Friday was a special day at Service High! The annual tradition of Crossover Day, when the entire student body gathers to transition or “crossover” into the following grade year, took place. Each class of students sits in the bleachers until seniors move to the gym floor, juniors take the seniors place and so on. The ceremony is a time of great fun, special recognition, reflection and celebration. My staff member, Hans, presented legislative citations to a large number of Service High School students & athletes for their outstanding accomplishments! Pictured are members of the Varsity football team selected to the Cook Inlet Conference team, and some selected to the All-State team!

These are truly amazing kids with incredibly bright futures! Wish I could have been there!

Go Cougars!!

 

Construction Continues Along Seward Highway

The Alaska Department of Transportation provided its weekly Seward Highway Dimond to Dowling project update on May 3rd. The update was as follows:

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.

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 these weekly updates related to this major project click here to subscribe.

 

Our Deepest Thanks

We in our office just wanted to take a minute to thank the wonderful, capable and super-human Mary Rosenfield for her service to the PTSA at Service High. Mary has gone above and beyond during her time as President, juggling her life, family, PTSA duties and Lady Cougar Volleyball responsibilities with true professionalism and heart. We are going to sincerely miss her leadership and could not be more grateful to have had the opportunity to work with Mary. She will be missed by anyone and everyone who had the chance to work with her, and we wish her all the best. We’re now very excited to have Sharron Johnson step up and take the reins!

Likewise, Principal Michael Day of Kasuun Elementary has announced his resignation after nine tremendous years of humble and steady leadership. Mr. Day has been an honest and competent Principal over his near decade of service to our community. We are truly going to miss him, and wish him and his family the absolute best on their new endeavor with the Yukon-Kuskokwim School District. The people of Koyukuk are truly blessed to be gaining such a reputable educator! Best of luck Mr. Day! To read Mr. Day’s farewell letter click here. For parents with children at Kasuun, here is the new Principal advisory process developed by ASD.

 

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 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: https://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,