Now that the House and Senate have both passed an operating budget, the next question is “How do we fund state government?” We did not look at cost savings and revenue generation at the same time, which means we have a lot of work to do with only 30 days left in the session. West Anchorage constituents have told me that we can’t kick the can down the road and hope that the price of oil goes up. We need a responsible action plan for Alaska—and we need it this year.Read more
Last Friday the House passed the Operating Budget over to the Senate ending the “24 hour rule” that was put in effect by HCR23. That also means that the limitations on what bills could be heard in committee was lifted and, as a result, some of my committees heard non-revenue bills for the first time since February 8th.Read more
Juneau – Two Democrats in the Alaska House of Representatives are sending a positive message to those who live with disabilities that will lose significant help under the budget passed last week. Representatives Les Gara (D-Anchorage) and Ivy Spohnholz (D-Anchorage) are encouraging Alaskans with disabilities and others to share their stories with lawmakers and to not give up hope that the harmful cuts, to help they rely on, can be reversed.Read more
The Alaska House of Representatives met from 11:00 am last Thursday until just after 3:30 in the morning on Friday to debate amendments to the state operating budget. The House Finance Committee had greatly reduced the budget from the original version proposed by Governor Walker and his Administration.Read more
Last week, during two 20-hour days in Finance Committee and on the House Floor, my colleagues and I in the Alaska Independent Democratic Coalition fought against cuts to services for seniors and the disabled, education opportunities from Pre-K to UA, and public safety. We also introduced millions of dollar in cuts for costly megaprojects, such as the Kodiak Rocket Complex and the Knik Arm Bridge. During this time of fiscal crisis, it made no sense to cut vital services yet keep these special pet projects moving.Read more
Today, starting at 1pm and continuing at 6pm, the House Resources committee will be taking public comment on Governor Walker’s Oil and Gas Tax Credit legislation (you can read about some key features of the bill here). This will be an opportunity to let the committee, and the legislature as a whole, know how you feel about the tax credit system. If you are unable to call in to comment today I will include a link for providing written comment. There will also be more public comment periods in the future as the bill moves through the process.Read more
Happy Friday! It’s been a busy week in the Capitol – see below for more on the budget, bill hearings, and changing House membership.
Yesterday the Alaska State Legislature confirmed the appointment of Representative Ivy Spohnholz to fill the late Representative Max Gruenberg’s seat. Governor Walker chose Ms. Spohnholz from three individuals whose names were put forth by the Alaska Democratic Party. The House Democrats then voted unanimously to confirm the Governor’s appointment. Her first day on the job she gaveled in to one of the most important legislatures in the state’s history. With the floor lasting until almost 4am, she joked about getting two days on the job in one day.Read more