Representative MATT CLAMAN Alaska State Legislature House Majority Coalition Site for Rep. Matt Claman Thu, 12 Jul 2018 01:30:22 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Rep. Matt Claman’s Alaska Matters: Flight Pattern Change Update & Community Events Thu, 12 Jul 2018 01:30:22 +0000
Rep. Matt Claman’s Alaska Matters: Happy 4th of July! Tue, 03 Jul 2018 23:47:44 +0000
Governor Walker Signs Legislation Updating Alaska’s Auto Dealer Franchise Laws Mon, 02 Jul 2018 22:54:51 +0000

HB 136 Represents a Compromise Between Auto Dealers and Manufacturers

Anchorage – Today, Alaska Governor Bill Walker signed legislation sponsored by Representative Matt Claman (D-Anchorage) to improve laws controlling franchise agreements between auto dealers and manufacturers. House Bill 136 updates Alaska’s franchise statutes to improve protections for auto dealers, auto manufacturers, and Alaska consumers.

Following the economic recession in 2008, national manufacturers shuttered more than 2,000 dealership franchises nationwide resulting in lost economic opportunity and lost jobs. Lessons learned from those terminations resulted in revisions to franchise laws in several states. Prior to the introduction of HB 136, Alaska’s statutes hadn’t been updated since 2002.

“The auto dealers in Alaska employ nearly 4,500 people, and car sales account for about 14 percent of total retail sales in Alaska,” said Rep. Claman. “We recognized the need to update Alaska’s statutes to protect Alaska workers, Alaska-owned businesses, and Alaska consumers while continuing to strengthen manufacturer’s brand quality and warranties.”

House Bill 136 is a product of extensive negotiations between the Alaska Automobile Dealers Association and the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers with a focus on Alaska consumers. The collaborative effort, led by Rep. Claman and Sen. Kevin Meyer (R-Anchorage), resulted in a bill that clarifies dealer and manufacturer responsibilities and strengthens protections for Alaskans.

House Bill 136 updates statutes relating to warranty repair work and warranty repair policies to be more consumer friendly. Specifically, the bill establishes new warranty repair work guidelines for consumers who live 100 miles or more away from a dealership and requires similar labor rates for both warranty and non-warranty repair work. Further, House Bill 136 details what constitutes good cause for dealership terminations and sets out the manufacturers’ and dealers’ financial responsibilities during terminations. The bill also updates the provisions for transferring or selling a dealership.

“Everyone involved in the auto industry wants Alaska’s dealerships to be successful. It became apparent that the standard motor vehicle franchise agreements didn’t address some of the unique circumstances in Alaska. I thank Governor Walker for signing HB 136 into law because this bill creates a sound system for dealers and manufacturers to thrive while improving consumer protections for all Alaskans,” said Rep. Claman.

House Bill 136 passed the Alaska House of Representatives this year by a vote of 36-3 and the Alaska Senate passed the bill by the unanimous vote of 19-0. Alaska Governor Bill Walker signed the bill into law today during a ceremony in Anchorage.

For more information, please contact Sara Perman in Rep. Claman’s office at (907) 269-0130.

Mike Mason
Press Secretary, Alaska House Majority Coalition
Phone: (907) 444-0889

Alaska Lawmakers Oppose Any Federal Policy Separating Children from Parents at the Southern Border Thu, 21 Jun 2018 00:04:05 +0000

21 Alaska State Senators and Representatives Send a Letter to President Trump 

Anchorage – Today, 21 members of the Alaska State Legislature sent a letter to President Donald Trump thanking him for responding to the wishes of the American people by pledging to end the practice of separating children from families that illegally cross the southern border of the United States. The President has confirmed that he will use his executive order authority to stop the practice, which his administration implemented earlier this year. The lead author of the letter is long-time State Representative David Guttenberg (D-Fairbanks) who notes that the policy was an inappropriate and ineffective use of government resources and taxpayer dollars.

“Many of the families arriving at the southern border are fleeing life-threatening circumstances and persecution in their home country. They came to America searching for relief and asylum and instead they have been greeted with callous separation from their children. What we witnessed at the border is wrong and not in keeping with American ideals and values,” said Rep. Guttenberg.

“The growing daily outrage we heard from business, religious, and political leaders across the country is justified, and I want to add my name to the list of Americans calling for an end to any policy that separates children from families on the southern border,” said Rep. Scott Kawasaki (D-Fairbanks).  

The letter to President Trump from the members of the Alaska Legislature cites the United Nations Human Rights Office, which has called the policy change a “serious violation” of the rights of children. The policy also violates the UN Refugee Convention, which was signed by the United States. The convention clearly states that asylum-seekers should not be penalized for entering a country illegally.

“What we have witnessed on the southern border is both heartbreaking and infuriating. I never thought we would have government agents taking children from the arms of parents and caging them like criminals when all they wanted was to find the American dream,” said Rep. Ivy Spohnholz (D-Anchorage), Chair of the House Health and Social Services Committee.    

“Forced separation of children from their mothers does not align with my Alaskan values. With this policy young children could suffer further trauma,” said Rep. Paul Seaton (R-Homer).

For more information, please contact Alaska House Majority Coalition Press Secretary Mike Mason at (907) 444-0889.

Rep. Matt Claman’s Alaska Matters: Governor Walker Signs Crime Bill Fri, 15 Jun 2018 21:13:59 +0000
Rep Claman’s End of Session Newsletter Wed, 06 Jun 2018 21:19:58 +0000
Rep. Claman’s Alaska Matters: Happy Memorial Day! Fri, 25 May 2018 22:26:13 +0000
Rep. Matt Claman’s Alaska Matters: 30th Legislature Adjourns After Approval of Operating Budget Tue, 15 May 2018 23:48:17 +0000
Alaska Legislature Passes Legislation to Safeguard Access to Civil Justice for Low-Income Alaskans Mon, 14 May 2018 21:37:34 +0000

House Bill 106 Enables Appropriation of Court Filing Fees to the Civil Legal Services Fund

Juneau – On the final day of the 30th Alaska Legislature, the Alaska State Senate passed legislation sponsored by Representative Matt Claman (D-Anchorage) to safeguard Alaskans’ access to the civil justice system by creating a stable and sustainable mechanism for funding the Alaska Legal Services Corporation (ALSC).

House Bill 106 would allow the legislature to appropriate up to 10 percent of the filing fees received by the Court System during the previous fiscal year to the Civil Legal Services Fund. It further allows for appropriations to be made from that fund to organizations that provide civil legal services to low‐income individuals, like the Alaska Legal Services Corporation.

“The Civil Legal Services Fund was created in 2007 with widespread bipartisan support to help ensure civil legal representation for Alaska’s most needy populations. The fund was originally designed to be capitalized by civil punitive damages collected by the state. However, in 2017, the Attorney General’s Office reported that in the last four years, the state had collected only $15,000,” said Rep. Claman.

ALSC, established in 1967, is a private, non-profit law firm whose funding comes from a variety of state, federal, and private sources. ALSC provides free legal help to seniors, veterans, disabled Alaskans, children, low income workers & consumers, and domestic violence victims. ALSC is dedicated to protecting those across Alaska who cannot afford to hire an attorney of their own.

Since 1984, the number of Alaskans who qualified for legal services has more than doubled, from 41,000 to over 100,000. Yet currently, the state’s contribution to ALSC is only a fraction of what it was 30 years ago. State appropriations to ALSC have declined from a high of $1.2 million in 1984 (worth about $3 million today when adjusted for inflation) to just $450,000 as of 2016.

“ALSC does critical work on behalf of seniors, veterans, disabled Alaskans, children, low-income workers and consumers, and domestic violence victims. However, at current funding levels, ALSC turns away hundreds of families seeking assistance each year due to resource limitations. House Bill 106 aims to reduce Alaska’s civil justice gap that ALSC has tried to bridge for over 15 years by stabilizing ALSC’s funding and helping ensure that civil legal aid is available to all Alaskans, not just the few who can afford it,” said Rep. Claman.

In March of 2017, House Bill 106 passed the Alaska House of Representatives by a vote of 33-3. Saturday, the bill unanimously passed the Alaska Senate and the House concurred with the Senate changes. The bill has now been sent to Governor Bill Walker for his signature.

For more information, please contact Lizzie Kubitz in Rep. Claman’s office at (907) 465-4904.

Drew Cason
Deputy Press Secretary, Alaska House Majority Coalition
Phone: (907) 575-2068

Coalition Members Reflect on the 30th Alaska Legislature Mon, 14 May 2018 00:47:07 +0000

Budget, Fiscal, and Other Legislative Achievements Highlight a Successful 30th Alaska Legislature

Juneau – After a flurry of legislative action, the Alaska House of Representatives joined the Alaska Senate in adjourning the Second Session of the 30th Alaska Legislature sine die early Sunday morning. Members of the Alaska House Majority Coalition reflected on the legislative achievements of the session.

“Goal number one of most politicians is to avoid political risk at all cost. That doesn’t apply to the men and women of the Alaska House Majority Coalition. We took huge political risks over the past two years and set an example for openness and transparency I hope future legislatures will emulate. Too often politics is judged by who wins and who loses. I admit that we lost some, but I stand proudly with my House Majority colleagues in celebrating our wins. We faced more obstacles to success than any legislature in Alaska’s history, and as I step away from the House I judge our Coalition a success,” said Rep. David Guttenberg (D-Fairbanks), House Finance Committee member.

“Nearly every day I speak with people who are concerned about the future of Alaska. I share many of those concerns. Our job as lawmakers is to work every day to help people and to secure a brighter future for our great state. My colleagues in the Alaska House Majority Coalition worked diligently for the past two years on solutions. We did this by ditching the old pattern of partisan politics in favor of hard work and listening to the will of the people,” said Rep. Dan Ortiz (I-Ketchikan), House Finance Committee member.

“What I will remember from the last two years is the moving public testimony that brought many of us to tears. Sometimes they were tears of sadness and other times they were tears of joy. The legislative process can be very frustrating to watch and often even more frustrating to be part of, but I am deeply grateful for my friends in this Coalition. We cast aside politics to work together. In doing so we addressed some incredibly important issues during what will always be considered a remarkable legislative session,” said Rep. Harriet Drummond (D-Anchorage), Chair of the House Education Committee.

“The most important thing we can all do to protect the future of Alaska is to realize that the politics of winners and losers is counterproductive to real solutions. I took some extremely tough votes over the past two years with the goal of protecting Alaskan jobs, the Alaska economy, and our education system. If the alternative is inaction, there was no choice at all. We did a lot of good things this session, some very good,” said Rep. Adam Wool (D-Fairbanks), Chair of the House Energy Committee.  

“I am thrilled to have passed health care price transparency, protected the Permanent Fund, and secured funding increases for the next two years for K-12 and pre-k education,” said Rep. Ivy Spohnholz (D-Anchorage), Chair of the House Health and Social Services Committee.

“I came into office last year dedicated to addressing our fiscal issues, but also to see reforms that build trust and create transparency for the people of Alaska. As we gavel out of my first term in office, I’m both proud and humbled by what has been accomplished. This legislature, I’ve passed a monumental legislative reform package, been part of a historic vote protecting the Permanent Fund and PFD, and have taken critical steps towards increasing public safety, education, and getting our economic future back on track. It’s been amazing to get to connect with my neighbors and to serve the people of District 22 with everything I’ve got,” said Rep. Jason Grenn (I-Anchorage), House Finance Committee member.

“I’m proud that our House Majority Coalition prioritized public safety by passing rape kit reform legislation along with funding to address our backlog of untested rape kits. This is a huge step forward and will bring justice to victims,” said Rep. Geran Tarr (D-Anchorage), Co-Chair of the House Resources Committee.

“Our Coalition formed with the goal to ignore party labels and partisanship in favor of fiscal solutions for the State of Alaska and all Alaskans. We passed a responsible operating budget that makes sure essential public services are delivered and advanced the dialogue around the need for long-term fiscal solutions. I am grateful that our Coalition stood fast for a larger $1,600 PFD this fall when both the Governor and Senate Majority wanted PFDs set around $1,000,” said House Finance Committee Co-Chair Rep. Paul Seaton (R-Homer).

“The Alaska House Majority Coalition elected the first Alaska Native Speaker of the House, and we are the first non-binding majority caucus in state history. We are the most diverse majority caucus in history with conservative Republicans, progressive Democrats, strong-willed Independents, and everything in between. Every day we went to work for the people of Alaska, and for that I am proud,” said House Majority Leader Rep. Chris Tuck (D-Anchorage).

“The Alaska Permanent Fund and the PFDs that represent our shared oil wealth are so important to the Alaskan way of life that I refused to toss them aside in favor of politics. The Permanent Fund dividend will continue to be eyed with envy by politicians, special interests, and outsiders until it’s protected in the Alaska Constitution,” said Rep. Gabrielle LeDoux (R-Anchorage), Chair of the House Rules Committee.

“I am grateful to serve in the 30th Alaska Legislature. Our coalition was successful in early funding public education for the next two years, and we came together to pass some important public safety reforms. A more personal victory was the passage of House Bill 213 to modernize the Alaska Public School Trust Fund. The bill will bring in millions of new earnings from a $650 million fund by modernizing the fund’s management to allow a more predictable draw and continued growth. The bill also creates an education raffle and endowment, the proceeds of which will go to schools on top of their regular funding,” said Rep. Justin Parish (D-Juneau), Co-Chair of the House Community and Regional Affairs Committee.

“We made lives better for children, those battling addiction, and those who deserve to be safe in their homes. I can walk out of this session proud that we passed some, but not all of the things I believe we needed to pass to improve this state,” said House Finance Committee Vice-Chair Rep. Les Gara (D-Anchorage).

“Our Coalition will be noteworthy in Alaska history for bravely confronting Alaska’s enormous fiscal instability and uncertainties. Whatever might be said about this majority, we acted boldly, courageously, and without fear. The House Resources Committee was unique in presenting legislation reflecting the viewpoints of all Alaskans, including but not limited to the voice of resource developers. The Resources Committee heard or advanced legislation on everything from the Pebble Mine to climate change, and from wildlife management to toxic flame-retardant chemicals. Perhaps never in the history of Alaska was there a more balanced showing of the many environmental and natural resources issues confronting Alaska,” said Rep. Andy Josephson (D-Anchorage), House Resources Committee Co-Chair.

“Our Coalition was unwavering in our commitment to improve public safety and respond to the concerns of our friends and neighbors in the community. House Bill 312 advanced the shared public safety priorities of the House, Senate, Governor Walker, and the people of Alaska. That bill, together with the five new prosecutors and other public safety measures we funded in the budget, will make Alaska safer, but we still have work to do to respond to the opioid crisis and to make up for the ill-advised cuts to public safety over the last several years,” said Rep. Matt Claman (D-Anchorage), Chair of the House Judiciary Committee.

“Representing House District 38 in the Alaska Legislature has been one of the greatest privileges so far in my career. And yet, it has also been very challenging at times. Alaska is faced with wide-reaching, complex, issues and I joined the effort to find solutions on day 53. I have worked with my new colleagues for the last 64 days trying to serve the everyday Alaskans who need government to work for them, not against them. With that said, I am looking forward to going home. It’s almost berry picking season,” said Rep. Tiffany Zulkosky (D-Bethel), Co-Chair of the House Community and Regional Affairs Committee.

“Every member of the Legislature brings his or her own set of principles and priorities to Juneau, and they all have value and legitimacy. But to get things done—and to do right by the people—you eventually have to meet somewhere in the middle. It’s not easy to find that balance, and no one enjoys compromising on the goals they have for the state and for the district they serve, but I’m proud that the House raised the dividend to $1600, and that we increased funding for our schools, for safer towns and villages, for fish & game management, and more. Also, I am pleased that a tone of integrity, trust, and cooperation this session helped lead us to its successful conclusion, well within our Constitutional deadline,” said Speaker of the House Rep. Bryce Edgmon (D-Dillingham).

For more information, please contact Alaska House Majority Coalition Press Secretary Mike Mason at (907) 444-0889.