Rep. Spohnholz’s Newsletter: Special Session Report and a Look Ahead

Rep. Spohnholz's newsletter

On Saturday, June 18th, the House gaveled out of the Special Session with the Senate gaveling out the following day. We accomplished a lot during this time, but failed to reach consensus on some of the most important elements on the agenda. Here is a summary of what happened followed by an update on the NEXT special session scheduled to start on July 11th and some information on local events of interest.

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Rep. Spohnholz’s Newsletter: Special Session Update

Rep. Spohnholz's newsletter

On Tuesday, the legislature passed a compromise budget package funded by the Constitutional Budget Reserve as is needed. This budget compromise is far from perfect, as are many compromises, but it allows us to keep Alaska open for business so that the fishing, tourism and business communities can continue to operate during the summer. The budget compromise ensures that we don’t face a crippling government shut down which would further damage the State of Alaska’s credit rating and hurt the thousands of Alaskan state employees and those who count on their essential efforts. In this special session update, I will describe these budgets generally as well as what is next in the special session.

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Rep. Spohnholz’s Newsletter: The Special Session

Rep. Spohnholz's newsletter

Last week on Wednesday, the legislature adjourned without passing a responsible fiscal plan for Alaska. As the newest member of the Alaska State Legislature, I was extremely disappointed that we were not able to balance the budget even after the session was extended. There is no more important responsibility of the Legislature than to make sure that we honor our responsibility to the people of Alaska by passing a responsible budget. However, we have another chance to get the job done.

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Rep. Spohnholz’s Newsletter: Update from Juneau: Justice Reform, HB 156, Oil Subsidies & Summer Events

Nothing about my first legislative session has been “normal.” I came to Juneau to fill the seat vacated by the passing of Rep. Max Gruenberg, my first day of work was a 20 hour budget floor session, and now we are on day 116 of a 90 day session as we are working to fill in a $4B deficit. I expect that the legislature will make headlines with some historic decisions in the coming weeks, but today I want to update you on a few key issues.

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Rep. Spohnholz’s Newsletter: Day 100 and Counting

It’s time for the total package!

Alaska has a $4.1 billion deficit due a budget that has been over reliant on one source of revenue—oil—which is at historically low prices right now. Oil is not projected to get above $50 per barrel anytime in the next 10 years, so we can’t just hope for prices to rebound. We only have enough funds on hand to cover about 25% of Alaska’s budget.

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Rep. Spohnholz’s Newsletter: Day 92

We have had some big accomplishments in the last few days including passing military justice reform and Medicaid reform. These are both comprehensive reform bills that garnered bipartisan support. However, there are still major issues outstanding before the legislature, and no clear path forward. Before I get into these topics I have a quick request:

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