Rep. Scott Kawasaki
Rep. Scott Kawasaki

   April 14, 2014

Final Week - Important Bills Still on the Table!

Dear Neighbors,

Here we are: The final week of the Twenty-eighth Alaska State Legislature has arrived. While there are only six days left, we still have numerous bills that are moving toward passage. As always, I will stand up and ask the most important question: how it will impact the lives of everyday Fairbanksans.

Rep. Kawasaki on the House FloorHB278, the education reform bill, SB138, the LNG export bill, and SB64, an omnibus crime bill, have been priorities for various legislators and the governor, but they still haven’t passed. Additionally, SB176, allowing concealed carry of firearms on UA campuses, is sitting in the Senate Finance Committee; SB201, relating to notices against trespass, and SB106, a potential vehicle for the extremely controversial HB77 provisions, both sit in the House Rules Committee.

The end of session will bring a whirlwind of bills to the floor, some of which have been properly vetted and others with only minimal review. I will keep you updated as legislation comes in front of us, but you can also follow the floor calendar here or watch it live here.

Protecting Alaskans’ Initiative Process

Last night, the House narrowly passed HB 384, a bill to change the minimum wage. This bill denies a grassroots effort of more than 43,000 Alaskans to put a minimum wage initiative on the ballot. It isn’t a minimum wage bill, it’s a political ploy to get the minimum wage increase off the ballot.

Rep. Kawasaki speakingIf HB384 passes the Senate, Alaskans won’t be able to vote on the initiative next fall. This is vitally important as legislation passed during session can be overturned immediately, while a ballot initiative must remain untouched for at least two years. In other words, the bill is a 6 month guarantee; the ballot initiative is a 24 month guarantee.

This bill is a political ruse. An eerily similar situation occurred just over a decade ago in 2002, when the legislature approved an increase in minimum wage that would have tied the minimum wage to inflation. Workers rejoiced until the legislature came back in 2003 and gutted the inflation provision.

I wholeheartedly agree that minimum wage workers deserve a raise and fully support the 24-month guarantee of the ballot initiative. I refuse to play politics with Alaskans’ paychecks. I helped gather signatures all last summer and will continue to work tirelessly this summer in support of our lower wage workers.

Capital Budget: Missing Lots of Fairbanks Priorities

Rep. Kawasaki in discussionThe capital budget was revealed last week and received a mixed reception. I worked across the aisle with my fellow Interior legislators to bring $195 million to build the UAF heat and power plant. This was our number one priority and we succeeded in securing that funding. Unfortunately, other Interior projects were not funded. There are numerous priority projects for Fairbanks that need to be partially funded at the very least. Barnette Magnet School has undergone a huge renovation and is on its last phase of construction. The popular wood stove change out program that helps mitigate the poor air quality was not supported by the Senate. I will work diligently with my fellow representatives to try to secure that funding. Additionally, I’m concerned that many important city, research and non-profit projects were left off the capital budget. There is still a week left for projects to be added; I’ll keep in touch as the budget is finalized.

If there’s a specific project you’re interested in, please enter your testimony! Your input is extremely helpful as we finalize the capital budget. The House Finance Committee will be taking public testimony TODAY, April 14th at 5:30PM. Testimony will be limited to 3 minutes and testifiers must be signed in by 8:00PM.

Working Hard for Fairbanks Families,

[SIGNED]

Scott Kawasaki
Alaska State Representative
District 4 - Fairbanks

As your Representative,
I am here to listen and help. Contact me anytime.

Rep.Scott.Kawasaki
@legis.state.ak.us

 
IN JUNEAU:
Phone: (907) 465-3466
FAX: (907) 465-2937
State Capitol Rm #428
Juneau, AK 99801

IN FAIRBANKS:
Phone: (907) 456-7423
FAX: (907) 451-9293
1292 Sadler Way
(AlaskaUSA Credit Building)
Fairbanks, AK 99701
 
Toll Free: (866) 465-3466

Voice your opinions!
Here are some ways to let your voice be heard regarding issues important to you.

Write a Letter to the Editor - submit up to a 350 word letter to the Fairbanks News Miner via their website:
http://newsminer.com

Contact the Governor
Governor Parnell's Fairbanks office may be reached at 451-2920, or e-mail him at sean.parnell@alaska.gov
You can also visit the state website at www.state.ak.us

Contact your
Congressional Delegation

Senator Mark Begich
Fairbanks Office:
101 12th Avenue, # 328
Fairbanks, AK 99701
(907) 456-0261
Email

Congressman Don Young
100 Cushman St., #307
Key Bank Building
Fairbanks, Alaska 99701
(907) 456-0210
Email

Senator Lisa Murkowski
Fairbanks Office:
101 12th Avenue, # 329
Fairbanks, AK 99701
907-456-0233
Email

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