News and Press
Juneau – Representative Dean Westlake (D-Kiana) will join Alaska Governor Bill Walker for a ceremony Saturday in Utgiagvik to sign House Bill 78, which designates the second Monday in October as Indigenous Peoples Day in Alaska. The bill was sponsored by Rep. Westlake and passed the Alaska State Legislature this year with overwhelming bipartisan support in both the Alaska House of Representatives and the Alaska State Senate.
Juneau – Tonight, a bill to respond to the ongoing opioid epidemic in Alaska passed its final legislative hurdle and will be sent to Governor Walker’s desk for his signature. The Governor included House Bill 159 on the call for the Second Special Session and with tonight’s action the Alaska House of Representatives, which initially passed the bill in May, concurred with the minor changes to the bill made by the Alaska State Senate.
Juneau – Tonight, to avert the looming government shutdown, the Alaska State Legislature passed the Fiscal Year 2018 Operating Budget. The compromise budget totals $4.1 billion in Unrestricted General Fund (UGF) spending and sets this year’s Permanent Fund Dividend at $1,100. The K-12 Base Student Allocation (BSA) will be fully funded at $1.2 billion, the same level of funding as the current year. This reverses the $69 million cut to education advanced by the Alaska Senate.
Juneau – Speaker of the House Rep. Bryce Edgmon (D-Dillingham) has released the following statement in response to news that S&P Global Ratings has placed the State of Alaska on its CreditWatch and has indicated that Alaska’s credit rating would likely be lowered without the passage of significant fiscal reforms this year.
In a major step forward, the Legislature has passed a compromise operating budget with a bipartisan vote of 31 to 8 in the Alaska House. This budget is not ideal, but it is necessary to prevent a government shutdown on July 1 which would have brought a halt to Alaskans’ ability to provide for their families at the most crucial time of year for many economic activities.
On Thursday evening, the legislature passed House Bill 57, the FY18 operating budget. Passing this budget compromise means the state will continue to provide government services when the state’s fiscal year begins on July 1. Although passing the operating budget is a step in the right direction, the legislature has not adopted a responsible action plan to address Alaska’s financial challenges. There is more work to be done for a long-term solution.
I am excited to finally be returning to my family in Fairbanks, hopefully to enjoy the remainder of the summer at home; but of course I don't know when I might have to go back to Juneau. I hope you have been taking advantage of these long summer days to spend time with your friends and family.
Greetings from Juneau. Late Thursday evening, the legislature was able to pass an operating budget to avoid a government shutdown. The budget includes several compromises between the House and Senate versions; the final version cuts $128.7 million in unrestricted general fund spending from last year’s budget. The House held strong on the commitment to fully fund K-12 education and pupil transportation.