Rep. Kawasaki’s Newsletter: Survivor Benefits Public Testimony, Pre-K and the Budget

I hope the beginning of 2017 is treating you and your family well as the 30th Alaska Legislature moves into its third week of session. My colleagues and I on the House Finance Committee are in full swing as each department provides overviews to the committee and subcommittees on their budget. We are focusing on whether a program in a department meets their mission and will consider elimination, modifications or enhancements to ensure the departments are meeting those missions. The House Majority Coalition does not encourage a cuts-only approach, but we recognize there are efficiencies in the way our government is structured.

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OP-ED: Why we should be investing in early childhood education during a budget crisis

Everyone is talking about numbers this session. Alaska’s budget deficit is nearly $3.5 billion. The Republican-led majority threatens to cut an additional $1 billion from state government spending.  Over $3 million is slated to be cut from early childhood education, which would decimate effective programs like Parents as Teachers, the Imagination Library, and pre-k in Alaska.

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Rep. Josephson’s Newsletter: Town Hall Time and More

This week, the State Senate scheduled a hearing for the U-Med/Northern Access Road bill that Senator Gardner and I introduced. I also attempted to restore funding to critical programs like Pre-K and job readiness, as well as welcomed a new colleague to the Legislature.

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Note from Rep. Les Gara: Good News For Seniors, College Aid, Possible Please Please End To Special Session Impasse

I know you’re frustrated, and I’ve been incredibly frustrated, that we are in an extended session. But It seems like an end to the impasse may be near. So I won’t mention at all that I’d rather be in the middle of a fishing stream than in the middle of an extended session squabble. I will mention – for those of you who believe in needs-based financial aid so people can afford college and vocational education – that today we made some significant progress.

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Rep. Scott Kawasaki’s Juneau Note: Energy Council; Early Education Pre-K Program;

I returned Sunday night from my trip to the Energy Council. The four days spent in Washington were filled with non-stop meetings and seminars throughout the day. I travelled with three fellow House Democrats and a dozen House Republicans for meetings about Alaska. Meetings included visiting our Congressional Delegation and members of the Senate Energy Committee, the EPA and the Department of Interior.

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Rep. Scott Kawasaki’s Juneau Note: Budget Alert, More Questions than Answers, Defending Pre-K, Advice Time for the Budget

The House Resources Committee passed Governor Parnell’s bill to give away around $2 billion of Alaska’s oil wealth each year back to big oil. I was disappointed by the Committee’s action to move the bill despite many unanswered questions. We have not heard any real evidence; the only thing the committee has heard was “anecdotal evidence”, “industry input” and “personal opinions” from administration.

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