February 12, 2018
Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Constituent Meeting February 24th!
Please save the date for our 2018 mid-session constituent meeting, Saturday, February 24th! We hope you’ll join us at Clark Middle School for a pizza party and constituent meeting from 12:30-2:30. We love seeing all of our neighbors come together for lunch and a discussion about the things that matter most. It will be a great opportunity to catch up, get your questions answered, and help us prioritize our legislation for this session. We look forward to seeing you and catching up!
Early Funding of Education Through HB 287:
Last week we prioritized public education funding by passing HB 287, that funds the education budget separate from the full operating budget. I’m proud to stand with the entire House Majority Caucus in pushing this bill early in the session to give our districts some ability to plan.
It’s not right that passing the budget has taken longer and longer each year, but it is a reflection of our challenging times and the need to restructure departments and do things differently. Good progress is being made and departments are more efficient and doing more with less. But, last year we didn’t pass a budget until June 22 – a full month past the mandate for school districts to give pink slips to employees due to lack of funding. This meant districts had to spend more time on the administrative tasks associated with budget planning and contingency plans for cuts and lost positions and less time on instruction and improving outcomes. This is bad for teachers, bad for students and bad for Alaska. We must provide a high quality public education to every child in Alaska and now districts are struggling with the many years of cuts. Early passage of funding won’t solve the problems due to lack of funding, but it will give our districts time to plan and that means more time will be spent teaching and less time on budgeting.
With your advocacy and support, we passed this bill with a vote of 33-3! Please contact our senators and ask them to pass this bill as soon as possible so we can move on to the tough task of figuring out the rest of the budget and a fiscal plan.
ACES in Alaska, the Next Steps for HCR2
In Alaska, we have high rates of child abuse. We now know from the research around ACEs, or Adverse Childhood Experiences, that the abuse children experience growing up can lead to poor health outcomes in adulthood, from substance abuse to difficulty holding jobs to physical health problems. That’s not good for our citizenry or our economy.
Alaska is a leader in understanding this research, which was done using a 10-question study to evaluate childhood traumatic experiences concerning abuse, neglect, and household dysfunction, with scores ranging from 0-10. The term adverse childhood experiences, or “ACEs” became synonymous with traumatic experiences that occur during childhood and have a lasting, negative effect on a child’s developing brain and body. The impact of this trauma affects individuals over a lifetime, and societies over generations.
My bill, HCR 2, takes a first step toward addressing these issues. It urges Governor Walker and the legislature to work together to establish policies and programs that address the public and behavioral health epidemics associated with ACEs so that we can uphold the promise to our children that they may grow up in safe households with the best opportunities before them in order to become upstanding Alaskan citizens. It passed the House State Affairs Committee and is headed to the floor! We will keep you posted. To track the passage of HCR 2, please click here.
February Community Council Meetings:
We love keeping in touch with neighbors through our community councils, and encourage you to do the same!
Mountain View Community Council will meet tonight, Monday, February 12th starting at 7pm at the Mountain View Boys & Girls Club.
Russian Jack Community Council will be meeting Wednesday, February 14th starting at 6:30pm at the Wonder Park Elementary School.
Airport Height Community Council will be meeting Thursday, February 15th starting at 7pm at the Airport Heights Elementary School.
Apply for Your PFD Today! #Pick.Click.Give
In 2008, the Alaska Legislature created Pick.Click.Give to allow Alaskans filing for their PFD online to donate a portion or all of their dividend to charitable and educational organizations. After a couple years, Pick.Click.Give became a permanent part of the PFD program! Organizations chosen to receive donations will receive them in mid-October, the same time dividends are distributed. Donations ARE tax deductible, and all organizations enrolled under the Pick.Click.Give program are registered as a 501c3 nonprofit organization. If you have any questions about Pick.Click.Give. and how to make a difference with your PFD, please take a look at the graph below, or if you click on it- you’ll be taken directly to the Pick.Click.Give website.
Hope everyone is staying safe and avoiding the icy roads as much as possible!
All my best,
P.S. Bills are moving through the legislature. Keep up with the daily schedule of bill hearings here: http://akleg.gov/index.php#tab2