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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Legislation Approved to Support Alaska’s Commercial Fisheries

Juneau – Wednesday, the Alaska Legislature passed a bill sponsored by Representative Dan Ortiz (I-Ketchikan) that will help Alaskans involved in the states vital commercial fishing industry. House Bill 56 passed the Alaska State Senate Wednesday after passing the Alaska House of Representatives last year.

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Alaska Legislation Votes to Help Grow Alaska’s Mariculture Industry

Juneau – Today, the Alaska Legislature passed a bill to change a state loan program to help Alaska’s fledgling mariculture industry. Participants in the industry often have trouble getting financing through private banks. House Bill 76 amends the current program to allow up to 40 percent of the fund to be used for loans to help pay for planning, construction, and operations of shellfish and seaweed hatcheries or enhancement projects.

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Alaska Legislature Votes to Support Dive Fisheries in Southeast Alaska

Juneau – Today, the Alaska Legislature passed legislation to update the protocol used by the Southeast Alaska Regional Dive Fisheries Association to charge an assessment to its members to help manage and support the geoduck, sea cucumber, and sea urchin fisheries. House Bill 354, sponsored by Representative Dan Ortiz (I-Ketchikan), changes the assessment mechanism from a vote by a majority of permit holders 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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