Representative Matt Claman's Alaska Matters
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Protecting Your Rights: Serving Sand Lake, Spenard, and Turnagain
February 3, 2017
In this issue:
• House Bill 44: Conflict of Interest
• Budget Hearing Updates
• Constituent Events
• Community Events

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

As February gets under way and the days are getting longer, we are keeping busy in Juneau. Alaska’s financial challenges remain the most important issue. Here are updates on some of the legislation and budget hearings that I’ve been listening to.

HB 44: Conflict of Interest Bill

Last Friday, we heard Representative Jason Grenn’s Conflict of Interest Bill in the House Judiciary Committee. House Bill 44 would change state law and legislative rules by lowering the threshold for lawmakers to declare a potential conflict of interest. The bill proposes a majority vote by the legislative body about whether to allow a legislator to abstain from voting due to a conflict of interest. Current rules require a unanimous decision to allow a legislator to abstain from voting due to conflict, which means that objection by a single legislator requires the legislator with a conflict of interest to vote.

Some concerns voiced by the committee included the unintended consequences of the bill. For example, could a majority of legislators use this new law to block a legislator from voting or single out a particular industries? Rep. Grenn explained that the legislation aims to have legislators publicly debate conflicts to provide transparency and trust.

We passed the bill out of the Judiciary Committee with a vote of 5-2.

Representative Claman hears HB 44 in the Judiciary committee while Representative Kreiss-Tomkins looks on.
Representative Claman hears HB 44 in the Judiciary committee while Representative Kreiss-Tomkins looks on.

Budget Hearings

We continue to prioritize the budget, and finance subcommittees are hearing from various state departments about the impacts of budget cuts over the last two years. The Department of Law reports that prosecution of misdemeanors have decreased by as much as 33% as we have cut the numbers of prosecutors. The court system remains closed on Fridays. It would cost more than $2 million to re-open the courts just on Friday afternoons. The Department of Environmental Conservation’s budget has been cut by 36%, reducing programs such as food safety and water quality testing. DEC has stopped conducting routine sanitary inspections and responding to bed bug complaints at hotels. Continued cuts to the Department of Transportation have resulted in service reduction of the Marine Highway ferries. Road maintenance including snow removal and pot hole repair has been diminished with the reductions.

Constituent Events

Anchorage Office Hours
Saturday, February 4th, from 12:00 PM – 2:00 PM at the Anchorage LIO
This weekend I will be holding office hours at my office in the Anchorage Legislative Information Office at 1500 W Benson Blvd, on the second floor. Please feel free to come by to say hello and share your suggestions and comments.

Anchorage Caucus
Saturday, February 25th, from 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Anchorage Caucus will meet at the Anchorage Legislative Information Office at 1500 W Benson Blvd. The meeting will be an “open house” format. Attendees can talk one-on-one with legislators and share feedback on policy options. We look forward to seeing you there!

Constituent Meeting
Saturday, February 25th, from 1:00 PM – 3:00 PM
After Anchorage Caucus, I will be holding a constituent meeting at West High School, Room C252. Alaska Department of Revenue Director, Ken Alper, will make an informal presentation about Alaska’s financial challenges.

Community Events and Opportunities

Public Safety Survey
The Anchorage Police Department is distributing an APD Neighborhood Survey to gather resident feedback about neighborhood safety issues. APD will provide the collected data to community councils with suggestions and tips to reduce crime. Take the survey here.

Sidewalk Upgrades
The Anchorage Metropolitan Area Transportation Solutions (AMATS), in partnership with the Municipality of Anchorage and Department of Transportation & Public Facilities, is planning sidewalk improvements to the pedestrian pathway along the south side of Benson Boulevard between Minnesota Drive and Arctic Boulevard. Improvements include repaving, realignments and structural improvements, signage and striping, and pedestrian curb ramp upgrades to meet Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements.
Learn more and share your feedback on the project at this month’s Midtown Community Council:

When: February 8th at 12pm
Where: Wells Fargo Heritage Museum - 301 W. Northern Lights Boulevard.

Stay involved:

As always, please let us know if you have any question or concerns.

Sincerely,

signed: Matt Claman

    Rep. Matt Claman

    P.S. follow me on Facebook and Twitter

Contact Information

(907) 465-4919

Rep.Matt.Claman@akleg.gov

State Capitol Bldg. Rm 405
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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