Last week was a big week in Juneau: two bills central to the Alaska House Majority Coalition’s fiscal policy platform were introduced, my Pre-Kindergarten bill was heard the first time and I added an amendment to Survivor Benefits legislation to include coverage for families of fallen correctional officers, probation officers and others that were originally included in last year’s bill I supported. Read on for details.
Anchorage – Representatives Geran Tarr (D-Anchorage), Harriet Drummond (D-Anchorage) and Ivy Spohnholz (D-Anchorage) release the following statements in response to the announcement that the State of Alaska is receiving a $1.1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Justice to process over 1,000 sexual assault kits collected by the Alaska State Troopers. The grant money will also fund a prosecuting attorney and investigator.
Juneau – Today, the members of Alaska Independent Democratic Coalition sent a letter to the high-priced Washington D.C. law firm of Bancroft, PLLC asking them to not move forward on an appeal to the Alaska Supreme Court of a lawsuit challenging the expansion of Medicaid in Alaska. The authority to move forward with an appeal has not been granted by the full membership of the Alaska House of Representatives as is required by law. Last week, a notice of appeal was illegally filed with the Alaska Supreme Court on behalf of the Alaska Legislative Council and the Alaska House of Representatives. This is despite a clear legal opinion from the Alaska Division of Legal and Research Services that such an appeal must be authorized by a vote of the full Alaska Legislature, which it was not.
Juneau – The Republican-controlled leadership in the Alaska House of Representatives has filed an appeal to the Alaska Supreme Court of a lawsuit challenging Medicaid expansion in Alaska without approval of the full Alaska Legislature as required by law. The ill-advised lawsuit was dismissed in March by a Superior Court Judge after finding that the Social Security Act allowed the Governor to initiate Medicaid expansion and that existing state law required Governor Walker to provide Medicaid to the group of Alaskans eligible for expansion.
JUNEAU – The Alaska Senate voted unanimously Sunday night in favor of House Bill 126 to reform the Alaska National Guard by creating a Code of Military Justice based on the federal Uniform Code of Military Justice. The code has not been updated since 1955, and most Guard members did not know a Code of Military Justice existed. HB 126 passed the Alaska House of Representatives in February, also by a unanimous vote. The new Code of Military Justice lays out the process to deal with members of the Alaska National Guard who violate military rules and orders.
Juneau – Today, a Superior Court judge invalidated the Alaska Legislature’s expensive no-bid lease for the Anchorage Legislative Information Office. Alaska Independent Democratic Coalition (AIDC) Leader Rep. Chris Tuck (D-Anchorage) praised today’s ruling.
Juneau – Today, Representatives Chris Tuck (D-Anchorage) and Adam Wool (D-Fairbanks) called on the Alaska Legislative Council to get approval from the full Alaska Legislature before continuing to fund the failed lawsuit challenging the expansion of healthcare options for thousands of Alaskans.
Video clip: Rep. Ortiz asks US Sen. Murkowski about Trans-Boundary Mining Issues – Feb. 17, 2016