Rep. Josephson’s May 5th Newsletter: Weekly Update

The seasons are changing in Juneau and I’m still here working hard to represent you and do what I hope is best for all Alaskans. I want to extend a special thank-you to those who phoned in to the University Subcommittee meeting last Saturday. We in the Capitol are sometimes called leaders, but we lead best with input from our constituents.

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Note from Rep. Gara: Alert: Senate Turning Fair Share for Oil into Oil Giveaway

Legislative compromise became more distant this past week, as the Senate gutted much of an oil reform bill our bi-partisan Alaska House Majority Coalition passed to get us towards a balanced budget. The bill sought a fair share for our oil. Now, the current Senate amendments make it an oil industry giveaway.

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NEWS: House Finance Committee to Review the Alaska Economy and Fiscal Policy

Juneau – The members of the Finance Committee in the Alaska House of Representatives will spend all week examining Alaska’s fiscal policy and how policy changes will impact the Alaska economy. The committee will hear from business, municipal, labor, and tribal representatives in addition to presentations from the Alaska Department of Revenue and the non-partisan Legislative Finance Division.

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NEWS: House Advances Legislation to Help Grow Alaska’s Mariculture Industry

Juneau – Today, the Alaska House of Representatives passed two bills to expand existing frameworks to better manage Alaska’s fledgling mariculture industry. House Bill 76 fills a critical gap in capital need for infrastructure development of mariculture operations. It amends the current program to allow up to 40 percent of the fund to be used for loans to permitted hatcheries and enhancement projects for planning, construction and operation. House Bill 128 would allow non-profits to pursue enhancement and restoration projects with oversight by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. Both bills are sponsored by Representative Dan Ortiz (I-Ketchikan).

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NEWS: Optometry & Optometrists Bill Passes Alaska House

Juneau – For over 40 years, optometrists and ophthalmologists have been sparring over statutes that govern eye health care for Alaskans. Today, the Alaska House of Representative passed legislation that updates antiquated statutes regulating licenses of optometry and the Board of Examiners of Optometry. HB 103, sponsored by Representative Ivy Spohnholz (D-Anchorage), seeks to improve and update the statutes that govern the board by allowing them to regulate their standards of practice similar to other boards with prescriptive authority (e.g. dentists, nurses, and doctors). The bill also allows the Board of Examiners of Optometry to set the continuing education requirements for a licensee to continue to practice.

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