Protecting Your Rights: Serving Sand Lake, Spenard, and Turnagain
April 11, 2018
Dear Friends and Neighbors,
As we approach the end of the 90-day legislative session and budget negotiations continue, we will keep working toward a responsible action plan for Alaska. Your input remains vital as the legislative session continues.
On Monday, the Alaska House of Representatives passed two pieces of legislation sponsored by my office.
Insurance Coverage for Contraceptives
House Bill 25 supports the health of Alaskan women and their families by providing greater access to reproductive health care and prescription contraceptives. The bill requires health care insurers to provide coverage for dispensing up to 12 months of prescriptive contraceptives at a time and coverage for medical services necessary for those products or devices. This legislation ensures that a woman has full access to the contraceptive method that works best for her without barriers related to cost or availability and saves money for Alaskan families by reducing repeat trips to the clinic and pharmacy. HB 25 passed the House by a vote of 21-17. The bill now heads to the Senate Health & Social Services Committee for consideration.
Updated Automobile Dealership Franchise Agreements
The House also passed House Bill 136, which updates Alaska statutes dealing with franchise agreements between auto dealers and auto manufacturers. Senator Kevin Meyer has sponsored the companion bill in the Senate with identical provisions. HB 136 is a product of extensive negotiations between the Alaska Automobile Dealers Association and the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers. The collaboration effort, which I spearheaded, resulted in a bill that both parties agree clarifies their individual responsibilities and strengthens protections for Alaskans. HB 136 passed the House by a vote of 36-3. The next stop for the bill is the Senate State Affairs Committee—chaired by Senator Meyer.
Smoke-Free Workplace Legislation Advances in the House
On Tuesday, the House Rules Committee heard a substantially updated version of Senate Bill 63, the smoke-free workplace bill. The Committee Substitute, introduced by the Rules Committee Chair Representative LeDoux, gives municipalities the option to opt-out of the smoke-free requirements via local elections. The bill advanced from the Rules Committee by a vote of 4-2. I’m optimistic that the full House will consider the SB 63 before the end of the session.
Mark your calendar for these upcoming events:
The Winter Bear Project
The Winter Bear Project is a statewide suicide prevention project that tours Alaska communities to perform The Winter Bear and lead workshops with rural Alaskan students aimed at combatting Alaska’s high rates of suicide.
The Winter Bear is the story of Athabascan teenager, Duane “Shadow” David, who’s contemplating suicide when he’s sentenced to cut wood for Koyukon Athabascan elder Sidney Huntington. At first the two can’t even communicate, but they gradually find a shared language based on the old man’s hunting experience and the young man’s video game vocabulary. Together they construct a Bear Spear in the old, traditional way. Soon after, Duane is forced to kill a marauding Winter Bear using only the Spear. Sidney is wounded in the encounter so Duane, who’s deathly afraid of showing himself in any public way, must stand in the spotlight and speak for Sidney at the Alaska Federation of Natives Convention.
The Winter Bear will only be performing two nights in Anchorage. For more information about The Winter Bear Project, check out their website.
When: Sunday, April 15th, and Monday, April 16th from 7:00PM – 9:00PM
A Flannel Affair
Don a flannel and join Alaska Huts for their annual fundraiser, A Flannel Affair! There will be a live auction, beer, and music from Hope Social Club. Spread the word, and bring a friend! All proceeds support Alaska Huts, whose mission is to promote outdoor opportunities and wilderness stewardship to a diverse community of people via a system of linked, back country wilderness huts.
For more information about Alaska Huts, visit their website.
When: Thursday, April 12th, from 6:30PM – 9:30PM
As always, please let me know if you have any questions or concerns.