Democrats’ Bill to Extend Voting by Mail Passes Committee

Bill would make it easier for seniors, rural Alaskans and people with disabilities to vote

JUNEAU – Representative Max Gruenberg’s bill to make voting by mail easier passed the House State Affairs Committee today. The bill would allow all Alaskans the same right as military and overseas voters whose applications to vote by mail remain effective for two general elections (up to four years).

“Participating in our democracy is a right of citizenship,” said Rep. Gruenberg (D-Anchorage), “and it should not be made difficult or inconvenient. Reducing the paperwork to vote by mail makes it easier for Alaskans to vote, especially those who have a hard time getting to their polling place.”

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Rep. Miller Calls for Facts on Getting Cook Inlet Gas to Fairbanks

If gas is there, it could be the cheapest, fastest way to lower Fairbanks energy costs

JUNEAU – Today, Representative Bob Miller (D-Fairbanks) introduced legislation (HB 308) to study the potential for meeting Fairbanks and Interior energy needs by building a small-diameter natural gas pipeline from Cook Inlet to Fairbanks.

“If there’s as much gas there as some think, a small pipeline from Cook Inlet to Fairbanks could be the cheapest, fastest long-term solution for lowing energy costs in Fairbanks,” said Rep. Miller. “But we won’t know unless we do our homework first.”

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Democrats Work to End Unlimited Campaign Spending

Legislation would make Alaska a leader in national effort to rein in big-money politics

(JUNEAU) – Today, 13 House and Senate Democrats introduced legislation aimed at scaling back rules allowing corporations, wealthy donors, and unions to spend unlimited amounts of money, sometimes in the millions, to get candidates elected. Companion resolutions (HJR 33 and SJR 13) introduced today in the Alaska House and Senate call for a federal constitutional amendment to reverse the Citizens United case that opened the corporate and union campaign spending floodgates. A separate House bill would return Alaska’s right to limit corporate contributions by making corporations not considered “persons” for purposes of Alaska election law.

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Democrats Prioritize Education, Promote Solutions; FOCUS: parent involvement, commitment to districts, lowering cost of college and job training

JUNEAU – The state of Alaska needs to make education more of a priority, House Democrats told reporters at a press conference in the capitol today. House Minority Leader Beth Kerttula (Juneau), Representative Chris Tuck (Anchorage), Representative Pete Petersen (Anchorage) and Representative Les Gara (Anchorage) outlined their proposals to increase parent involvement in early education, to make sure school districts have the resources they need, and to make college and job training more affordable for Alaskans.

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Committee to Hear Democrats’ Bill to Create Non-partisan Primary Election

Bill would give Alaskans freedom to vote for any candidate, regardless of political party

JUNEAU – Today, the House State Affairs Committee is scheduled to hear Democratic legislation (HB 77) to establish a non-partisan primary in Alaska so Alaskans can have the freedom to vote for whomever they want in each election, regardless of their, or the candidate’s, party affiliation. Representative Max Gruenberg (D-Anchorage), Representative Sharon Cissna (D-Anchorage) and Representative Scott Kawasaki (D-Fairbanks) sponsored the legislation, and Representative Pete Petersen (D-Anchorage) is a co-sponsor.

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Rep. Gara Calls for Better Alternative to Gov’s Oil Bill; Alternative requires new Alaska exploration and production

Today Democratic Representative Les Gara called for a hearing on his oil tax legislation. Unlike the governor’s bill which gives away revenue for nothing in return, Rep. Gara’s “Alaska Oil Production Enhancement Act” (HB 231) requires oil companies to make new investments in Alaska before receiving incentives.

“Alaska is a sovereign state. We should act like one. The Governor’s bill gives companies the option to take $1.8 billion a year outside Alaska. Our bill requires that companies invest in Alaska, on development projects, that will open new fields and heavy oil to production to qualify for the incentives we offer,” said Gara.

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House Democratic Caucus Announces Social Media Pages

Today, the House Democratic Caucus announced its presence on three major social media websites, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. The caucus will post timely news, legislative updates, and other points of interest throughout the legislative session and the rest of the year.

Please find us on the following pages:

Facebook: facebook.com/AKdemocrats
Twitter: @AKHouseDems
YouTube: youtube.com/user/AKHousedemocrats

All content is public and available to use for any non-campaign related purpose.

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Rep. Gara Objects to KABATA Plan to Destroy Homes and Businesses; Destroying homes before bridge is approved puts cart before the horse

JUNEAU – Today, Representative Les Gara sent a letter to the Knik Arm Bridge and Toll Authority (KABATA) objecting to the rude awakening the group gave to property and business owners on Government Hill this fall. Letters from KABATA, a government agency, told owners that they will be vacated from those properties by this summer. KABATA has issued binding purchase offers and written in correspondence that it intends to own these properties by the summer of 2012. The project still has no funding, no developer, requires a potential $1 billion or more in state liability and appropriations, and has not yet been approved.

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