|Protecting Your Rights: Serving Sand Lake, Spenard, and Turnagain|
|April 7, 2017
Dear Friends and Neighbors,
We’re nearing the end of the 90-day legislative session and the House and Senate are picking up the pace as the deadline approaches. The budget remains our top priority and we’re committed to working together to create a responsible action plan for Alaska.
Proposed 90 Day Session
Today is the 81st day of the 90 day session, and it’s likely that the legislature won’t adjourn on time. I continue to support finishing on time with a responsible action plan for Alaska. Earlier this session, I filed House Joint Resolution 3 to put a constitutional amendment on the ballot in 2018 to limit the regular legislative session to 90 days.
In the 2006 general election, Alaskans voted to shorten the duration of the session from 120 days to 90 days. Since the initiative took effect in 2008, however, the legislature has run over the limit five times, which has cost Alaskans more than $900,000.00. Legally, the legislature can ignore the statutory 90-day session limit because the Alaska Constitution states “the legislature shall adjourn from a regular session no later than one hundred and twenty consecutive calendar days from the date it convenes.” HJR 3 amends the Constitution to read “no later than ninety consecutive calendar days” and brings the Alaska Constitution in line with the Alaska Statutes.
When the framers wrote the Alaska Constitution, there was no limit on session length. In the early days of statehood, the legislature often adjourned in less than 90 days. In fact, the first session to exceed 90 days was in 1969. Voters amended the Constitution in 1984 to set the 120-day limit after the 1981 session ran for 165 days.
One positive step toward more certainty about session length is allowing Alaskans to decide whether the Alaska Constitution should be consistent with the public vote in 2006. Approximately 59% of those who responded to our 2017 constituent survey support the amendment, and I will continue to support placing the constitutional amendment on the ballot in 2018.
Real ID Legislation: House Joint Resolution 15 & House Bill 74
Real ID is a Federal mandate that establishes minimum requirements for secure issuance and production of driver’s licenses and identification cards. Currently, 26 states comply with Real ID regulations, 5 do not comply (WA, MT, MN, MO, & ME), and 19 states, including Alaska, have extensions allowing continued issuance and use of non-compliant cards. Alaska’s exemption ends June 6, 2017, after which, driver’s licenses will not be sufficient to access federal facilities and military bases. In addition, airports will enforce the same restrictions starting January 18, 2018. In order to access these facilities, a person would need a passport, passport card, or similar federal form of identification.
There are two pieces of legislation in the House that deal with the subject of Real ID: House Joint Resolution 15 and House Bill 74. HJR 15, introduced by Representative Johnson, is a resolution that encourages Congress and the Executive Branch of the United States government to repeal the Real ID Act because it allegedly disregards the 10thAmendment of the US Constitution by imposing an unfunded mandate on every State in the Union. The resolution passed out of State Affairs committee and is pending consideration on the House floor.
HB 74, introduced by Governor Bill Walker, gives Alaskans the choice to acquire REAL ID compliant identification—one that can be used for air travel and to access federal facilities—or opt for a noncompliant ID card/driver’s license. It does not mandate that a person must get a Real ID compliant ID card or driver’s license. In Alaska, all state, borough, and city governments must treat noncompliant identification the same as compliant identification.
If HB 74 is passed, you can expect the following changes to the current process of getting an ID/driver’s license at the DMV:
For more information, please see the FAQ document that has been supplied with the bill.
Mark your calendar for these upcoming events:
Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport Job Fair
When: Saturday, April 8th from 10am to 3 pm
Anchorage Senior Citizens Advisory Commission Survey
The Senior Citizens Advisory Council is asking for your help to measure the issues and concerns of Anchorage seniors. Your input will help the council to focus its policy concerns for the future. Take the survey here. The deadline for the survey is Thursday, April 21st at noon.
As always, please let us know if you have any question or concerns.
Rep. Matt Claman
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