House Unanimously Passes Legislation Authorizing Commercial Hemp Farming in Alaska

Juneau – Today, the Alaska House of Representatives unanimously passed legislation to remove industrial hemp from the list of controlled substances and to authorize commercial farming of hemp in Alaska. Senate Bill 6 passed the State Senate unanimously last April, and today the bill passed the house by a vote of 36-0. The bill is sponsored by Senator Shelley Hughes (R-Palmer) who sought to build on the efforts to authorize industrial hemp by former State Senator Johnny Ellis from Anchorage. SB 6 was carried on the House floor by Rep. Harriet Drummond (D-Anchorage).

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Reps. Gara and Drummond to Push Needed Increase in School Support

Juneau – Today, Representatives Les Gara (D-Anchorage) and Harriet Drummond (D-Anchorage) introduced legislation to increase the Base Student Allocation (BSA) in Alaska by $100. The BSA is the amount provided to school districts each year for each student enrolled. Funding for public education in Alaska is roughly $25 million less today than compared to 2015, according to the non-partisan Legislative Finance Division. The loss is even greater, $90 million if you consider the effects of inflation.

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NEWS: Marijuana Legalization Prompts Bill to Seal Public Records of Past Convictions

Juneau – Representative Harriet Drummond (D-Anchorage) has introduced legislation to protect the ability for Alaskans to go to work despite past convictions for marijuana possession. House Bill 316 seeks to seal public records related to marijuana possession in the wake of voter approval of legalization in Alaska in November of 2014. The bill also calls for the Alaska CourtView system to be wiped clean of all marijuana convictions classified as a VIA misdemeanor. The citizens initiative allowed the sale and consumption of recreational marijuana but failed to address how to deal with those previously convicted of marijuana possession.

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Rep. Drummond’s October 27th Newsletter: Public Testimony SATURDAY and MONDAY on Further Criminal Justice Reform

The House Finance Committee will meet on Saturday and Monday to accept public testimony on Senate Bill 54, making additional reforms to Alaska’s criminal justice system. The bill passed the House Judiciary Committee late Thursday night and has been referred to the House Finance Committee.

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Rep. Drummond’s October 2nd Newsletter: Committee Meetings Scheduled to Examine Public Safety in Alaska

The Finance Committee in the Alaska House of Representatives has scheduled a series of budget subcommittee meetings to discuss the nexus between crime rates and available public resources in Alaska. The budget subcommittees for the Departments of Public Safety, Administration, Corrections, and Law will meet on October 5th at the Anchorage Legislative Information Office (LIO).

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NEWS: Special Session Compromise; End Cash Credits Now

Anchorage – The Alaska House Majority Coalition has communicated a proposed compromise to the Alaska Senate Majority to address oil tax credit reform, which is the subject of the ongoing Second Special Session of the 30th Alaska State Legislature. Coalition members support changes to House Bill 111 to end the practice of paying oil companies cash subsidies for certain tax credits. This is expected to save the State of Alaska an estimated $1.5 billion over the next ten years.

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