NEWS: Legislation Signed to Support Southeast Alaska’s Dive Fisheries

Ketchikan – Earlier this week, Alaska Governor Bill Walker signed a bill into law to help the valuable geoduck, sea cucumber, and sea urchin fisheries in Southeast Alaska. House Bill 354 updates the protocol used by the Southeast Alaska Regional Dive Fisheries Association to charge an assessment to its members. The old assessment method that required a vote by a majority of all permit holders to authorize an assessment change was difficult to achieve because many permit holders no longer participate because their permits are nontransferable. HB 354 changes the threshold to change assessments to a three-quarters vote of the Board of Directors and a majority vote of permit holders participating in the election.

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NEWS: Race to Alaska Becomes Eligible for “Race Classic” Permit

Ketchikan – Alaska Governor Bill Walker signed legislation into law on Monday adding the Race to Alaska to the list of events eligible for a “race classic” game of chance permit. House Bill 18 will allow the Greater Ketchikan Chamber of Commerce to offer a “race classic” contest based on people guessing the winning time of the 750-mile Race to Alaska, which is a human-powered boat race from Port Townsend, Washington to Ketchikan, Alaska. Similar “classics” are offered by the Chamber’s of Commerce in Juneau, Fairbanks, Kenai, Seward, Petersburg, Delta, and Big Lake.

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NEWS: Help for Alaska’s Growing Mariculture Industry Signed Into Law

Ketchikan – Alaska Governor Bill Walker signed legislation into law today to help participants in Alaska’s growing mariculture industry get access to capital. Representative Dan Ortiz (I-Ketchikan) sponsored House Bill 76 after learning that many of the small businesses in Alaska’s mariculture industry were having trouble securing financing for improvement projects through private lending institutions. HB 76 changes the Alaska Mariculture Revolving Loan Fund to allow up to 40 percent of the fund to be used for loans to help pay for shellfish and sea…..

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Southeast Lawmakers Welcome Fisheries Disaster Relief Funds

Representative Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins (D-Sitka) and Representative Dan Ortiz (I-Ketchikan) welcome news that Alaska, including Southeast, will receive $56 million in federal fisheries disaster relief funds. The 2016 pink salmon fishery’s devastatingly low revenues were felt throughout the state, but the initial request for disaster relief funds was…

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Alaska Lawmakers Oppose Any Federal Policy Separating Children from Parents at the Southern Border

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.

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Transboundary Mining Prompts Concerns from Alaska Lawmakers

Anchorage – Several Alaska lawmakers have sent a letter to Alaska Governor Bill Walker stressing the need for action to protect the watersheds of Southeast Alaska from the negative downstream impacts of large-scale hard rock mining in British Columbia. The ten lawmakers are urging the Governor to develop partnerships with other states that border British Columbia to demand binding international agreements mandating a transparent environmental review process for mining projects. In the letter, the Alaska lawmakers insist the environmental review process satisfy the concerns of U.S., Canadian, and Tribal governments.

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Coalition Members Reflect on the 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.

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Budget Deal Reached; State Operating Budget Passes the Alaska Legislature

Juneau – A compromise budget agreement between the Alaska House of Representatives and the Alaska State Senate was reached today, resulting in the passage of the fiscal year 2019 operating budget for the State of Alaska. Today’s budget deal prevents any disruption in essential public services as the State of Alaska enters the busy summer tourism and fishing seasons. House Bill 286 features total General Fund spending of $6.27 billion. The budget includes Alaska House Majority Coalition priorities such as $942 million to inflation-proof the value of the $65 billion Alaska Permanent Fund, $1.02 billion to pay for $1,600 Permanent Fund Dividends for each eligible Alaskan, a $10 million investment in the University of Alaska above the Governor’s proposal, and multiple measures to improve public safety and law enforcement in Alaska.

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