News and Press
Juneau – Representative David Guttenberg (D-Fairbanks) will be holding a University of Alaska Finance Subcommittee meeting today from 1:00-4:30 p.m. to hear public testimony.
Juneau – Representative Justin Parish (D-Juneau) is praising a decision by Governor Walker that will preserve essential state jobs and prevent layoffs that could impact Alaska’s roads, bridges, airports, and public buildings. Rep. Parish has learned that Governor Walker decided not to pursue a costly feasibility study to examine fully privatizing the design functions of the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities. The Governor’s decision preserves hundreds of state jobs threatened by a successful privatization effort.
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.
Juneau – Today, the Alaska House of Representatives passed House Bill 1, sponsored by Representative Chris Tuck (D-Anchorage), to make it easier for Alaskans to register to vote and participate in elections. Nearly half of Alaskans eligible to vote in 2014 failed to do so, and this legislation seeks to improve and clarify the voting process in an effort to increase the number of Alaskans having their voices heard in our elections.
Today marks the 102nd day of the session. The House has passed its four-pillared responsible action plan to the Senate for consideration. As the House hears additional legislation, the budget remains our top priority and we’re committed to working together with the Senate.
Hello from Juneau, where the legislative session marches on to Day 103. This is just a quick note about a couple of public testimony opportunities tomorrow, Saturday, April 29.
On Tuesday evening the Senate Labor & Commerce Committee took public testimony on HB 115—the Education Funding Act—and afterward much was made of the fact that a majority of the more than 100 people who called in were in favor of this tax for schools. The testimony went on until after 10:00 p.m., and many people waited hours to put their views on the record.
Hello! Some information came out this week that I wanted to share with you. This past Monday, the Institute of Taxation and Economic Policy released their report: Comparing the Distributional Impact of Revenue Options in Alaska. This report compares the impact of different revenue plans being discussed in Juneau this session. The report finds that most Alaska households would pay less under a personal income tax, like our HB 115 School Tax, than they would under a 3% sales tax even if the sales tax exempted food, child care and rent.