​​​​​​Representative Matt Claman's Alaska Matters 

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Protecting Your Rights: Serving Sand Lake, Spenard, and Turnagain

January 26, 2017

In this issue:

•  State of the State

•  Educating Funding

•  House Bill 25: Insurance Coverage for Contraceptives

•  Community Events

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

 

Last week, Governor Walker welcomed us back to Juneau with the State of the State address. He emphasized the need to revitalize our economy by passing a responsible action plan that reduces Alaska’s budget deficit while maintaining core public services and improving public safety. 

 

As we wrap up the second week of session, the legislature is already hard at work on legislation to address our state’s financial challenges. While we continue to hear legislation, the budget remains front and center.

 

State of the State

 Last Wednesday, Governor Walker delivered his fourth annual State of the State address. He began by focusing on Alaska’s resilience as a state. Pointing to his administration’s success establishing a joint-partnership with China on the Alaska LNG project, he outlined the potential job creation that could come from completing the project. He noted the continued upswing in annual tourism and pointed out that the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority (AIDEA) continues to pump money into the economy by investing in Alaska businesses.


Governor Bill Walker delivers his fourth annual State of the State address to the legislature.

Governor Walker followed by noting that we’ve reduced spending by 40 percent and eliminated nearly 3,000 state employees. While we have maintained most public services, we’ve closed 40 state facilities and reduced or eliminated state funding for more than 100 programs and services. He mentioned that with the growing opioid epidemic, several critical state services have been cut too deeply and pointed out that the Alaska State Troopers alone have cut 77 safety positions. “The cuts-only plan is no plan at all. If that wasn't clear before, the public safety crisis makes this fact obvious,” he said, before highlighting that his FY2019 budget includes an additional $34 million for public safety.

The Governor emphasized that without a sustainable fiscal solution, credit rating agencies will continue to downgrade our credit rating, and investors will continue to look elsewhere. He thanked the House for passing a complete four-part plan which included spending from the Alaska Permanent Fund’s investment earnings, modest budget cuts, cuts to the state subsidy of oil and gas drilling, and an income tax. However, he strongly criticized the inaction of the legislature as a whole, saying “the worst decision we can make is no decision.”

Governor Walker concluded by emphasizing that the bottom line is that Alaskans need improved public safety, budget reform, and a responsible action plan so that we can energize the Alaskan economy. He ended with a note of optimism, saying that he believes in Alaska’s resilience and ability to tackle challenges head-on. Read the full speech here.


Education Funding

 The Alaska Constitution (Article VII, Section 1) requires that the legislature establish and maintain a system of public schools. Alaska school districts rely heavily on state funds for education funding every year. In 2017, school districts state-wide sent out pink slips to teachers on the last day of school after the legislature neglected to pass a budget in 90 days. House Bill 287, introduced by Representative Seaton, would make appropriations from the Constitutional Budget Reserve fund (CBR) and from the Statutory Budget Reserve fund (SBR) for K-12 education and student transportation. The bill is intended to pass early in the session, separately from the regular operating budget, to prevent school districts from issuing mandatory teacher layoff notices. An early, separate appropriation for education would allow school districts to finalize their budgets on time and will prevent the need for pink-slips in the future.

 

Many lawmakers agree that education funding cannot withstand further cuts without negatively effecting Alaskan children. I continue to believe that education remains our best investment for Alaska’s future, and I am committed to maintaining a strong public school system in Alaska.

 House Bill 25: Insurance Coverage for Contraceptives

 Last year, I introduced House Bill 25: Insurance Coverage for Contraceptives, legislation related to insurance coverage for contraceptives. During our hearings on HB 25, citizens across Alaska shared the importance of expanding birth control access by giving every woman full access to the birth control method that works best for her, without barriers on cost or availability. We also heard from women, especially in rural areas, that multiple trips a year to the pharmacy can be an insurmountable barrier in accessing consistent contraception, and that a one-year supply would assist many in balancing their personal health with work and family life.

 

 Since last session, there has been an increased awareness on the national level and in Alaska of the issue of domestic violence and sexual assault. Movements such as #MeToo and Time’s Up have made it clear that we need to do more as a society to support those who have experienced and are currently experiencing this type of violence.

 

During these last few months, I’ve learned about the issue of reproductive coercion, also known as contraceptive coercion, a form of domestic or interpersonal violence used by abusers.

 Advocates and those who have experienced this type of coercion explained and shared stories about contraceptive coercion, in which abusers dictate when and how contraceptives can or cannot be accessed as a means of gaining power and control. This deplorable behavior and blatant disregard for women’s health and autonomy is inexcusable.

 

 On Tuesday, the House and Social Services Committee heard invited testimony from individuals on the role of contraceptive coercion in domestic violence. The hearing was an opportunity to make good on our responsibility as legislators to educate ourselves on issues like contraceptive coercion and acknowledge it as a serious type of abuse.

 

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Representative Claman testifies on House Bill 25 in the House Health and Social Services Committee.

By providing consumers a 12-month supply of birth control methods and expanding choices for women to include long-acting reversible contraception, HB 25 critically enables victims and survivors to live as safely as possible in the short term while working toward longer-term safety. Contraceptive coercion is a public health issue, and it is also a public safety issue. By giving women and families access to affordable and reliable contraception, we can help current and potential victims of domestic violence and abuse.

 

Community Events

Mark your calendar for these upcoming events:

Community Councils

Turnagain Community Council 
When: Thursday, February 1st at 7:00 pm  
Where: West/Romig Career Technology Center, First Floor, Room C125 
Facebook event page

Spenard Community Council 
When: Wednesday, February 7th at 7:00 pm  
Where: Spenard Recreation Center 

Sand Lake Community Council 
When: Monday, February 5th at 6:30 pm 
Where: Sand Lake Elementary School, Library Room 
Facebook event page

Anchorage Folk Fest

 

The 29th Anchorage Folk Festival continues in its second weekend. The festival allows folks of all ages to listen to live music and participate in local music and dance workshops. Local musical favorites include Steven Bacon, Sassafras and Hot Club of Nunaka, and this year’s musical guest artists are The Seamus Egan Project and The Gonzalo Bergara Quintet.

 

 

When: All day events Thursday, January 25th – Sunday, January 28th. See the detailed schedule of events for more information about the music, dances and workshops.

Where: Various locations around Anchorage including the Wendy Williamson Auditorium, Middleway Café, Williwaw, Beartooth, and Spenard Roadhouse. 

 

AMH Anchorage Cup – Pia’s Classic Ski Race

 

Ski for Pia! Mark your calendars for the second race in the AMH Anchorage Cup Citizen Race series. Pia’s Classic is put together by the Nordic Ski Association of Anchorage and sponsored by Alaska Mountaineering and Hiking. A classic ski race is open to the whole family with your choice of distance: 5k, 15k or 30k. There will also be a 2.5k untimed fun race for youngsters. The races begin at noon, but plan to stick around afterward for food and prizes.

 

Skiers cross the finish line at Kincaid Park.

When: Sunday, January 28th , 12:00 pm – 2:00 pm.

Where: Kincaid Park, 9401 Raspberry Rd, Anchorage, AK 99502. The race will begin in the stadium below the Chalet.

 

As always, please let me know if you have any questions or concerns.

signed: Matt Claman 

    Rep. Matt Claman

    P.S. follow me on FacebookTwitter and Instagram

Contact Information

(907) 465-4919

Rep.Matt.Claman@akleg.gov

State Capitol Bldg. Rm 118
Juneau, Alaska 99801

www.repmattclaman.com

Contact the Governor

550 West 7th Avenue, Suite 1700
Anchorage, AK 99501
T (907) 269-7450 F (907) 269-7461
EMAIL:
Governor Bill Walker

STATE of ALASKA
http://alaska.gov/
State Info (907) 269-5111

Serving the Anchorage Neighborhoods of
Sand Lake, Spenard, and Turnagain

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