Note from Rep. Gara: Sarah Redmon: A Profile in Success and a Profile of a BIG Problem in Alaska Fishing Stream Rules

It’s easy to think that the laws we pass don’t make a difference. Well sometimes they do. Or at least help those, as in foster youth Sarah Redmon’s case, who just might have moved any mountain-sized obstacles out of her way on her own.

And – I’ll write a short note about a bill we will hear Monday – that weakens Alaska’s ability to prevent developers from taking huge amounts of water from fishing streams that might damage our prized sport, commercial and subsistence fisheries. Yup. This bill (House Bill 77) violates the “promise” we once heard that Alaska would never trade one resource for another. Well, Alaska will, and our fish are coming out on the short end lately. There’s currently an application to take out eighteen million gallons a day of water from a prized western trout and salmon stream, the Upper Talarik Creek drainage off Lake Iliamna.

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NEWS: Democrats Call on Governor to Not Leave Fish High and Dry

Legislators propose amendment So Needed Water Isn’t Withdrawn From Fishing Streams

Today, Representative Les Gara (D-Anchorage) called on the governor to honor his promise not to “trade one resource for another” [Fairbanks Daily News Miner, March 11, 2010]. He called for the governor’s support in ensuring Alaska’s fish-producing streams maintain the water they need to support healthy fish runs.

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NEWS: Public Fishing Stream Access Bill Signed Into Law

Today, the governor signed into law Representative Les Gara’s legislation to ensure future public access to Alaska’s fishing streams, House Bill 144. The bill passed the House last year with a vote of 38 Yeas and passed the Senate by a vote of 20 to 0 on February 27.

“I want to thank the governor and the legislative body for their support in protecting Alaskans’ access to fishing streams for this and the next generation. In other states you have to pay access fees to fish a stream, or are simply blocked from this public resource. We don’t ever want that to happen in Alaska,” said Rep. Les Gara (D-Anchorage), an avid fisherman and fishing writer.

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Note from Rep. Gara: Guv Signs Our Bill to Protect Alaskans’ Fishing Stream Access!

Well good news doesn’t usually come in the hospital. But that’s where I am, and where I got the good news that the Governor signed my bill seeking to maintain and enhance the cherished right of Alaskans to access our fishing streams, so public access remains for this and the next generation.

Predictions are that surgery went well, but it will be a little bit before we know for sure. What we do know is all the cancer is gone – thanks for all the well wishes. That’s the good news. It will take a little time to find out if there are any side effects.

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Note from Rep. Gara: End of Session, Pre “Unspecial Session” Update – The Good, Bad and Ugly.

Well, a flurry of bills passed the last 24 hours of the regular legislative session. I’ll give you the highlights and low lights, and a short preview of special session.

I’m able to write now that my blood pressure is back to normal. What caused the rise? The few legislators who pride themselves on blocking good legislation out of pure partisanship and animosity. Would anyone outside the Legislature (or Congress where the same stuff is done) really make the state a worse place just because you’re trying to block legislation by an “opponent” – or trying to make your opponent’s election chances worse? It’s a sick part of the legislative process that, I’m happy to say, most legislators don’t tolerate. But the few that do make life, and the state, worse for the rest of us.

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NEWS: Bill Protecting Public Access To Fishing Streams Sent to Governor

Today, the Speaker of the House sent Representative Les Gara’s legislation to ensure future public access to Alaska’s fishing streams, House Bill 144, to the governor for his signature. The bill passed the House last year with a vote of 38 Yeas and passed the Senate by a vote of 20 to 0 on February 27.

“I want to thank the Speaker for sending this bill to the governor and the legislative body for their support in protecting Alaskans’ access to fishing streams for this and the next generation. In other states you have to pay access fees to fish a stream, or are simply blocked from this public resource. We don’t ever want that to happen in Alaska,” said Rep. Les Gara (D-Anchorage), an avid fisherman and fishing writer.

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Note from Rep. Gara: Home Energy Upgrade $; Controversial Bills; Corporate Election $pending News & Um, HELP!!!

I just wanted to give you a quick update on some of the things we are working on in Juneau. And for those of you who missed last week’s constituent meeting held by our and Senator Ellis’ office – but have questions or concerns – please let us know. I’ll give the hard questions to Johnny. Kidding Johnny. Just kidding.

There are two controversial bills that I want to share some information on. First, on HJR 16 the House Finance Committee will take public testimony on a proposed constitutional amendment to use state money to pay for private schools.

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Bill Protecting Public Access To Fishing Streams Passes Legislature

Today Representative Les Gara’s legislation to ensure future public access to Alaska’s fishing streams, House Bill 144, passed the Senate. It now goes to the Governor. The bill passed the House last year with a vote of 38 Yeas, and today passed the Senate by a vote of 20 to 0.

“We want to protect fishing stream access for this and the next generation. In other states you have to pay access fees, into the thousands of dollars, to fish a stream. We don’t ever want that to happen in Alaska,” said Rep. Les Gara (D-Anch.), an avid fisherman and fishing writer. The legislation will inexpensively promote access to important fishing streams by encouraging voluntary land trades or purchases with willing landowners so Alaskans have public easements to travel to and along fishing streams that will otherwise be lost over time.

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