Protecting Your Rights: Serving Sand Lake, Spenard, and Turnagain
February 15, 2018
Dear Friends and Neighbors,
The tragic school shooting in Parkland, Florida is a call to continue to our commitment to improve public safety.
Watch for our Beginning of Session Newsletter and survey in your mailbox this week! You can complete the survey by hand and mail it to our office, or you can save a stamp and complete our survey online.
In Juneau, we continue our work to adopt a budget within 90 days.
Commitment to Improving Public Safety
The tragic events at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida remind us again that we must do more to improve public safety in our communities. I will continue my efforts to work with all legislators for solutions that work for Alaska and protect all Alaskans.
State of the Judiciary
Last week, Alaska Supreme Court Chief Justice Craig Stowers delivered his third and final State of the Judiciary address. Stowers’ speech discussed changes to the court system, including rural courts, his commitment to ensuring caseloads are handled efficiently, and the consequences of prior budget cuts to the state’s judicial system.
As part of the Court System’s efforts to improve access to the courts, Chief Justice Stowers asked the legislature to add a new superior court judge in Juneau. This week, the House Judiciary Committee considered that request when we heard House Bill 298: Number of Superior Court Judges. The House Judiciary Committee supported HB 298 and recommended passage of the bill by the full House.
Alaska Close Up Program Visits Juneau
On Monday, I had the pleasure of demonstrating the legislative process to high school students from rural Alaska who are participating in the Alaska Close Up program. Close Up is a nationwide program that ‘informs, inspires, and empowers young people to exercise the rights and accept the responsibilities of citizens in democracy’. In the Alaska program, high school students and teachers meet and network to learn about the three branches of state government and how they work together to govern the people of Alaska.
To demonstrate the work of the Legislative branch, we held a mock hearing on a bill that I’m sponsoring. House Bill 296 appropriates 50 percent of the marijuana excise tax toward marijuana prevention programs. The programs focus on youth marijuana prevention and statewide marijuana education. After I explained the intent of the bill, several students acted as members of the committee and asked questions about the legislation. I was impressed by their insight and thoughtful conversation about the causes and impacts of marijuana consumption.
I continue to believe that education remains our best investment for Alaska’s future. Programs like Close Up reinforce my belief that we support our future leaders by supporting funding for public education.
Governor Walker Introduces Oil & Gas Tax Credit Legislation
The Governor recently introduced legislation to create a State corporation authorized to issue bonds for the purpose of purchasing oil and gas exploration tax credits.
Last year, HB 111 redesigned the oil industry tax credit system so that smaller companies earn credits once they start producing rather than during the exploratory phase. This year, to clear the books of existing exploratory credits, Governor Bill Walker has proposed a bill that will allow the state to buy back its balance of oil tax exploration credits owed to small companies. Under his proposal, the state would issue bonds to pay back the remaining $800 million in cashable oil and gas exploration tax credits plus $200 million expected to accrue in the next 2-3 years before the last credit programs expire. The Department of Revenue would buy back the credits at a discounted rate to finance the bond proposal so that the state does not have to spend additional money to pay off the existing balance.
According to the Governor, the legislation would allow Alaska to put the cashable tax credit program in the past in a fiscally responsible manner while continuing to provide small oil and gas companies with the capital to invest in Alaska.
Don’t forget to Respond to Our Constituent Survey!
We’ve already received many online responses from West Anchorage residents. If you haven’t already, please take a moment to share your thoughts and suggestions. The electronic survey form will close on February 28th.
Mark your calendar for these upcoming events:
The Bear Tooth Theatrepub is partnering with local musical favorites DJ Spencer Lee and Alex the Lion to host Spenard Prom – an adult prom party. Singles and couples are invited to dress to impress for a night of drinks and dancing. Prom royalty will be chosen by attendees. There will also be prizes and professional photography. Guests must be 21 and over.
Tickets are on sale online and at the Bear tooth box office!
For more information visit the event Facebook page.
When: Thursday, February 15th from 8:30pm – 12:00am
Where: Bear Tooth Theatrepub, 1230 W. 27th Ave, Anchorage, AK 99503
Join the UAA Theater Department for a multidisciplinary performance that carefully weaves together the personal stories, local experiences, and science behind the 1964 Great Alaska Earthquake. Earthquake ’64, created entirely by UAA theater students, uses spoken dialogue, movement, and original songs to examines the ripple effect this event had on Alaska and the world – how it changed people, communities, cultures, and scientific understanding. For more information and ticket sales, check out the Arts UAA webpage.
When: Friday, February 16th – Sunday, February 18th. Showtimes vary.
As always, please let me know if you have any questions or concerns.