Protecting Your Rights: Serving Sand Lake, Spenard, and Turnagain
May 4, 2018
Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Today marks the 109th day of the session. As the House continues to consider and approve additional legislation, the budget and public safety remain our top priorities and we’re committed to working together with the Senate.
Governor Walker Signs Bill to Early Fund Public Education
Yesterday, Governor Walker signed House Bill 287, legislation appropriating $1.3 billion for K-12 education and student transportation in FY19. A provision of the bill funds education in the same amount in FY20 and adds an additional $30 million in one-time grants to school districts if some version of Senate Bill 26 passes this session. $30 million is equivalent to a $117 increase to the Base Student Allocation (BSA).
Alaska school districts rely heavily on state funds for education funding every year. In 2017, school districts state-wide sent pink slips to teachers on the last day of school after the legislature didn’t pass a budget in 90 days. HB 287 helps to prevent school districts from issuing mandatory teacher layoff notices. An early, separate appropriation for education allows school districts to finalize their budgets on time and will prevent the need for pink-slips in the future. I was pleased to support HB 287.
Education funding cannot withstand further cuts without negatively effecting Alaskan children. As we move forward with the legislative session, I remain committed to passing legislation that strengthens our public school system because education remains our best investment for Alaska’s future.
Recently, the Alaska State Legislature passed three pieces of legislation sponsored by my office.
House Bill 20 - Solemnize Marriage: Elected Officials
On Wednesday, the legislature passed House Bill 20, which amends the Alaska Marriage Code to include elected officials among the group of individuals who may solemnize a marriage.
Under current law, marriages may only be solemnized by a minister, priest, rabbi, or commissioned officer of the Salvation Army, a marriage commissioner or judicial officer, or any religious organization or congregation. House Bill 20 extends the same responsibility to elected officials. This change improves access to marriage solemnization in rural areas with fewer officials pre-approved by the state. For instance, if a couple in a remote Alaskan village are set to be married and the minister becomes ill, an elected official could step in on short notice. Additionally, with courts remaining closed on Fridays, adding elected officials to this list provides Alaskans with another option without having to go through the time-consuming process of arranging for a marriage commissioner appointment.
HB 20 passed the Senate by a vote of 17-2. In February, HB 20 passed the House by a vote of 29-6. The bill will now be sent to the Governor for his signature.
House Bill 86 – Student Loan Default/Occupational License Renewal
Last year, the House passed House Bill 86, a bill that repeals current statutes that allow the Alaska Commission on Postsecondary Education (ACPE) to threaten nonrenewal of occupational licenses for individuals who have defaulted on their student loans.
Under current law, a licensing agency may not renew a license issued to a borrower if the ACPE notifies the licensing agency that the borrower is in default on their student loan. The licenses include occupational licenses for nursing, teachers (K-12), correctional officers, and others. The ACPE acknowledged that blocking renewal of occupational licenses was not effective for collecting loans in default and other methods to work out the loans are more effective. Repealing this authority will allow licensees to continue their practice, earn an income, and pay back their defaulted loans without the fear of losing their occupational license and income from that occupation. HB 86 passed the House by a vote of 36-4.
In April, HB 86 was added into Senate Bill 4, a bill revising statutes related to the licensure of barbers’ and hairdressers’. Passage of this bill will keep hard working Alaskans employed. SB 4, which now includes HB 86, passed the Senate unanimously, and will now be sent to the Governor for his signature.
House Bill 136 – Motor Vehicle Dealer Franchises
In April, the legislature passed House Bill 136, which updates Alaska statutes dealing with franchise agreements between auto dealers and auto manufacturers.
The auto dealers in Alaska employ nearly 7,000 people, and car sales account for about 14 percent of total retail sales in Alaska. HB 136 updates Alaska statutes to include protections for both auto dealers and the national manufacturers. The legislation brings warranty repair policies up to date to be more consumer friendly. Specifically, the bill provides new warranty repair work options for consumers who are 100 miles or more away from a dealership. HB 136 also details what constitutes good cause for dealership terminations and sets out the manufacturers and auto-dealers’ financial responsibilities during terminations. The bill also updates the provisions and terms for transferring or selling a dealership.
HB 136 passed the Senate by a vote of 19-0. In early April, HB 136 passed the House by a vote of 36-3. The bill will now be sent to the Governor for his signature.
Mark your calendar for these upcoming events:
50th Annual Anchorage Citywide Cleanup
The Annual Anchorage Chamber Citywide Cleanup Week will be held April 28th to May 5th. The city is hosting several cleanup events as well as a 'Free Dump Days' at the Anchorage Landfill and the Girdwood Transfer Station. Trash bags can be picked up at the Customer Service Desk of any Fred Meyer location in Anchorage or Eagle River with a limit of two (2) bags per person. If your organization, group, or business would like to clean together, you can register your team to reserve more bags.
Turnagain Community Council is sponsoring a cleanup event this Saturday, May 5th at Earthquake Park.
TCC will provide gloves and light refreshments. This event is part of the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce Citywide Clean Up, who is providing bags. Meet at the parking lot at 10:00am.
2018 Great Alaska Aviation Gathering
Now in its 21st season, the Great Alaska Aviation Gathering is the largest free-entry aviation trade show in America. The Gathering is a family friendly event about flying in Alaska complete with a frontier flair! Alaska's world renowned event, hosted by the Alaska Airmen Association at Anchorage's FedEx Hangar at the Ted Stevens Airport, boasts nearly 300 exhibitors featuring the latest technology, state-of-the-art products, innovations, comprehensive safety features, and new aviation programs.
This 2-day event features food vendors, exhibitors, and indoor and outdoor static displays that feature every type of aircraft- sport, general aviation, vintage, experimental, commercial, corporate, military, and drones!
For more information about vendors and the schedule of events, visit www/greatalaskaaviationgathering.org.
When: Saturday, May 5th & Sunday, May 6th from 9:00AM – 5:00PM
Tastee Freez 60th Anniversary & Community Celebration
Tastee Freez is proud to be one of Anchorage’s favorite family-friendly restaurants and the place where many young people got their first jobs. This Saturday, join the Tastee Freez family in celebrating 60 years of service in Alaska. The celebration will have different activities for the whole family including music, drawings, games, face painting, and an ice cream eating contest. For more information, visit the Facebook event page.
When: Saturday, May 5th from 11:00AM – 4:00PM
As always, please let me know if you have any questions or concerns.