MARCH 29, 2013
Dear Friends and Neighbors,
First- don’t forget to apply for your PFD. The deadline is this Sunday, March 31st. You can apply here: http://www.pfd.state.ak.us/
We’re moving into the last couple weeks of these session so I want to take a moment and give an update from the committees that I serve on. I have the great privilege of serving on the House Resources Committee, Health & Social Services Committee, Economic Development, Trade & Tourism Committee, and the Joint Armed Services Committee.
Resources committee has been very busy! There are so many important issues facing our state right now, and not just oil taxes. We’ve seen bills from the Governor that are pitched as “streamlining” the permitting process. While I support responsible development, I disagree with how these bills limit the public’s ability to comment on development of our resources. One bill removes the ability for local Alaskans to have a say in protecting important salmon streams. I voted no on the measures to eliminate Alaskans from the process.
We’re working on the oil tax bill now and will for the next several days. I remain firmly committed to ensuring our fair share of our oil resources. We have a partnership with the industry and we must protect the state’s interest, provide jobs for Alaskans, and maintain a system that shares our resource wealth with the people of Alaska.
Health & Social Services
Health and Social Services has included a lot of presentations and bills that have highlighted the same theme: children are our most precious resource, and making sure that they have a safe and healthy home environment is an investment that will pay enormous dividends in terms of both state money, and quality of life for those children.
We’re considering legislation related to Medicaid payments for mediset prescriptions (packaging that puts specific prescriptions into time and day segments to prevent mismanagement of medications), foster care placement policies, drug testing for public assistance recipients, and how to address the issue of prescription medication abuse. I expect most of these bills will be held in the committee for further work.
Economic Development, Trade & Tourism
This committee focuses on exploring ways to diversify and expand our economic base and ways that we can make Alaska attractive for new businesses. One important issue, the issue of food security in Alaska, was dealt with early in the session by passing House Concurrent Resolution 1, which encourages the establishment of a state food resource development working group. We’ve explored opportunities with seafood exports, water export possibilities, in state manufacturing, and infrastructure development that can support residential and business development. We also received a report from the Division of Economic Development about the incredible success of their loan programs. These investments double and triple the impact of the state dollars.
Joint Armed Services Committee
The JASC is a committee with members from both the House and the Senate. We’ve had one committee meeting this year, where we received updates from the United States Coast Guard, the Air Force, the Alaska National Guard, and the Alaska Army. Among the presenters were Lt. General Stephen Hoog, Major General Thomas Katkus, and Rear Admiral Thomas Ostebo. The military plays an important role in Alaska and they demonstrated their role in protecting our country.
• Friday, March 29 – Children’s Meal Mission Fundraiser, 3:00 – 9:00 PM at Chuck E. Cheese’s. 15% of all sales get donated to the Meal Mission.
• Saturday, March 30 – 2013 Bike Swap, 12:30 – 3:00 PM at the AT & T Sports Complex, (11051 O’Malley Center Drive). This event is free and you can buy, sell, or trade bikes and bicycle equipment.
• Today – April 1 – Vote Early, 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM at City Hall or the Library. For more information on how to vote early, or if you have any questions, call 243-VOTE.
• Tuesday, April 2– Anchorage Municipal Election, 7:00 AM – 8:00 PM at your local polling location. Visit the municipal website to find your polling location. Type in your address, and use the “Political” pull down section to find your polling location.