Update for March 3rd
Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Today is day 46 of the 90 day regular session – our half way point – and this week has been has been filled with meetings on the budget, oil and gas taxes, healthcare, and many other issues important to Alaskans. Our office has also been incredibly lucky to have many visits from District 25 constituents this week – all advocating for issues important to them and to our community. If you find yourself in the Capitol City this session with an advocacy group or you simply want to stop by and say hello, please come by our office, Room 404!
This week the House Democratic Majority introduced their edited version of the state budget. We were disappointed to see that despite the over $3 Billion deficit, their budget increases state spending by hundreds of millions of dollars and expands non-essential state programs. Along with a rise in spending, the Majority’s budget eliminated a proposal to use some of our state’s budget reserve, and instead took a large and risky draw from the Permanent Fund’s earning reserve. While smart uses of our state’s assets can benefit the state, such a hefty draw from our earnings reserves in one year can serve to erode the value of that account and the corpus of the Permanent Fund itself.
What’s next? Public testimony on the budget began yesterday and will continue today, and we will be listening to how Alaskans react to this late-in-the-game surprise as well as hear from residents about their take on the size of our government. Do you want to weigh in? Anchorage is having public testimony from 1:00 p. to 3:00 p.m. today at the Anchorage LIO (website: http://anchorage.akleg.gov/ ) We will also be working with colleagues to introduce amendments in the Finance Committee to reduce the duplicative, non-critical spending that our budget still includes.
Criminal Justice Update
Our office has been working closely with state prosecutors, victims’ advocates, the Anchorage Police Department, state troopers, and many others in law enforcement to find potential fixes to the dangerous omnibus criminal justice overhaul passed last year, Senate Bill 91. This bill risked the safety of our communities by reducing and changing many of the penalties for criminal offenders without sufficient safety nets and accountability measures to ensure that outcomes would improve. It needs a whole lot of work, and our office is partnering with others across the state to get the input of our constituents on how we can make them feel safer in their homes and regions. If you are interested in sending your ideas for ways we can improve our community and state’s safety, please reach out to our office! We have all witnessed the truly upsetting rate of violent and non-violent crime in Anchorage, and can all do more to prevent that rate from growing.
Strength. Resilience. Justice.
Individuals and organizations that assist crime victims seeking justice in the judicial system while helping them to put their lives back together deserve special recognition. Victims for Justice, an advocacy group dedicated to representing victims of crime, is seeking nominations for its annual awards banquet at the Egan Center April 8. The four awards are an integral part of National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, April 2-8 and the theme this year is Strength. Resilience. Justice. To nominate an individual or organization, fill out the online nomination form at https://victimsforjustice.ejoinme.org/nomination The deadline for nominations is March 15.
Gus Schumacher did it again! The Service Senior captured the Skimeister title last weekend at the ASAA Nordic Ski State Championships by posting the fastest individual times at the three day event, and he did it just days after winning the Skimeister title at the Cook Inlet Conference Championships. Congratulations to Gus for amazing back to back performances and to the entire team and coach Jan Buron for a successful season on the ski trails.
Practice sessions are underway for the Cougar soccer and track and field teams. Due to the collapse of The Dome earlier this winter, the season opener has been tentatively scheduled for March 31, of course we will have more details as they become available. Schedules for the soccer teams are still being worked out and will be released soon.
Members of the Anchorage Assembly and Anchorage School Board will gather a joint meeting on Tuesday, April 7 at City Hall in the eighth floor conference room beginning at 10:00 a.m. A review of the 2017-2018 ASD budget and its six year capital improvement plan are on the table for discussion. The Anchorage Assembly will hold a regular meeting that evening at the Loussac Library.
Agendas for both meetings can be found at the municipal meetings webpage. http://www.muni.org/Residents/Pages/MuniMeetings.aspx
Car Seat Checkups
The Anchorage Fire Department is offering free car seat and booster seat checkups on March 8, 9 and 10 from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. at downtown Fire Station #1, located at 100 East 4th Avenue. Certified Child Passenger Safety Technicians will inspect seats and booster seats to check for proper installation and educate parents about the safe use of car seats.
For more information, please call Safe Kids Alaska at 907-212-3194.
Do 1 Thing
Shelter. It is one of the essential needs anyone caught in a disaster must have to survive and assist others injured and in need of care. Do 1 Thing is a non-profit organization that works to prepare communities for an emergency or disaster. Each month it brings attention to one thing families and communities can do to be disaster resilient. March is about the steps necessary to locate safe, secure and habitable shelter. Go to the Do 1 Thing at: http://do1thing.com/topics/sheltering for all the details.
We are here for you and your family, so please keep in touch. Our toll free number is 888-269-3879.
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