Representative Justin Parish’s
April 7, 2017
Hello friends and neighbors in Juneau and across Alaska! Day 90 is coming up fast, but Spring is already here! I went outside today and it wasn’t even cold!
This week’s edition is focused on our public education system. Our state is struggling with a faltering economy and with social problems such as child-abuse and drug-addiction. I believe prevention is our best option, that begins with a well-funded public education system.
Presenting House Bill 165 to the House State Affairs Committee with my aide Rob Edwardson.
Press Availability and Public Education
On Tuesday the 4th, I had my first press availability with fellow members of the House Majority Coalition including Speaker Bryce Edgmon, Majority Leader Chris Tuck, and House Finance co-Chair Paul Seaton. I was glad to speak directly to press and deliver the message that if we want a bright future for Alaska, we can’t afford to cut our investments in education. The Senate’s proposed cuts would cost us 700 teacher around Alaska. 22 of Juneau’s teachers and three of our support staff would be laid off. We cannot continue to sacrifice our children’s futures with one hand while subsidizing the oil industry with the other. Our classes sizes have already increased too much and already teachers struggle to give every student the attention they need. Of all of the state’s investments, none are more important that our investments in the education of the next generation.
If we consider only the measurable benefits of investments in education, it still compares very favorably. For example, pre-k spending has been studied and shown to have a return of about 13% per year (further reading). I will absolutely oppose the cuts of the Senate and I want to thank everyone who has testified along the way.
You can watch the entire press availability by clicking this link.
House Bill 213 – Public Education Trust Fund
Last week, I introduced a bill to supplement funding for public schools. Without any additional cost to the state or to Alaskans, the Department of Revenue estimates that a change, like the one proposed in House Bill 213, could bring in as much as $10 million a year through increased efficiency in investment. I look forward to bipartisan support as the Senate is considering a similar measure.
As House Bill 213 goes through the Legislature I will post any opportunities for testimony. The Senate and some members of the House minority have made it clear that they think we should cut education. My hope is that this bill will help protect education by providing stable designated funding. Your testimony could make the difference.
Take a look at House Bill 213 by clicking this link.
Update - House Bill 166 – Museum Construction Grant Program
My bill, House Bill 166, will have its first hearing next week in the House Finance Committee. This bill would create a grant program in which the state can award up to 50 percent the costs need for museum construction or major renovations. We have heard a lot of supportive testimony, in Juneau and from all around the state. Our great museums preserve Alaska’s history and are an important resource for our children and visitors. Alaska’s history is long and rich. We owe it to our forbearers, to ourselves, and to our children to preserve and share our heritage. The successes and failures of the past can help guide us towards a brighter future for all Alaskans.
You can read the text of House Bill 166 by clicking this link.
Go Blue Day!
Today, April 7th, is Go Blue Day, and my staff and I all joined in the occasion in various shades. On Go Blue Day we wear blue to promote awareness of child abuse and neglect. Thanks to the Alaska Children’s Trust for all their great work! Learn more by clicking this link.
Have a great week, and please do not hesitate to contact my office at 465-3744 if you have any questions or you would like to meet with me. I would love to hear your ideas on how I can make Juneau a better place to live for all of us.
- Representative Justin Parish