NEWS: Rep. Spohnholz Praises Approval for New Resources Essential to the Response to Alaska’s Opioid Epidemic

Anchorage – Last week, the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services approved certificate of need requests from both the Alaska Regional Hospital and the Mat-Su Regional Medical Center for new treatment facilities for those struggling with substance abuse and mental health issues. Representative Ivy Spohnholz (D-Anchorage), Chair of the House Health and Social Services Committee, supported both certificate of need applications as a way to address Alaska’s worsening opioid epidemic and fill a need for behavioral healthcare in both Anchorage and the Mat-Su Borough.

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Rep. Guttenberg’s September 15th Newsletter: Interim Update: Special session, broadband, and healthcare

Today, the Governor announced a special session that will begin on October 23rd. It will focus on revenue and criminal justice reform. Though seemingly unrelated, the recent rise of criminal activity in Alaska is a direct consequence of the fiscal crisis.

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NEWS: Regulatory Commission of Alaska Seeks Information About Broadband Internet Coverage

Fairbanks – The Regulatory Commission of Alaska (RCA) has opened a public process to gather information about broadband internet service in Alaska, including current and future projects. The RCA will use the voluntary information for a report to the Alaska Legislature. The effort to examine the availability of broadband internet in Alaska is the result of intent language inserted into the FY 2018 budget at the behest of House Finance Committee member Representative David Guttenberg (D-Fairbanks).

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Rep. Spohnholz’s July 28th Newsletter: Pragmatic compromise & better eye care for Alaskans

Yesterday, the legislature convened itself in a 3rd special session to pass the capital budget. The legislature passed a bipartisan compromise that uses about $122 million in state unrestricted general funds to obtain about $1.2 billion in federal funds. For every dollar in state funds, we receive $10 from the federal government for a variety of infrastructure and transportation projects.

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NEWS: Governor Signs Bill to Increase Access and Decrease Costs of Eye Care in Alaska

Anchorage – Today, Alaska Governor Bill Walker signed House Bill 103 into law, delegating increased authority over the regulation of optometrists to the Board of Examiners of Optometry. HB 103 was introduced by Representative Ivy Spohnholz (D-Anchorage) and its Senate companion, Senate Bill 36, was introduced by Senator Cathy Giessel (R-Anchorage). The bill passed both the Alaska House of Representatives and Alaska Senate with strong bipartisan support in April and May.

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NEWS: Bill to Combat Opioid Epidemic Passes House

Juneau – Today, the Alaska House of Representatives passed House Bill 159, introduced at the request of the Governor and carried in the House by Rep. Ivy Spohnholz (D-Anchorage), to update statutes regarding the prescription of opioids to empower and protect Alaskans. Both Governor Walker and the Alaska Legislature recently issued a disaster declaration for the ongoing opioid epidemic and allowed for the distribution of Narcan. HB 159 is an important next step in curbing the recent rapid growth of opioid abuse in Alaska.

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NEWS: Alaska Legislature Passes Legislation to Ensure Safe Standards for Eye Care

Juneau – Today, the Alaska State Senate joined the Alaska House of Representatives in approving legislation to update state statutes and standards for optometrists and ophthalmologists. House Bill 103, sponsored by Representative Ivy Spohnholz (D-Anchorage), allows the Board of Examiners of Optometry to use their professional expertise to regulate their profession in Alaska similar to how other professions are regulated. Additionally, the bill allows the board to set continuing education requirements for licensees in Alaska.

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