Hello Friends & Neighbors,
It’s going to be a very busy week in the legislature this week. This week the House will have the budget on the floor. This could take several days as we do not know at this time how many amendments will be offered by members. There were over 100 amendments offered in the House Finance Committee over several days and the same thing may happen on the floor. If you want to watch the proceedings, you can watch online here: http://w3.akleg.gov/index.php#tab5
Then, on Tuesday at 1pm, my House Bill 22 to extend the Suicide Prevention Council will be heard in the House Finance Committee. This hearing will also include public testimony if you are interested. I have had the privilege of serving on the Council for the past four years and know how valuable this group is to our efforts to reduce rates of suicide in Alaska. The Council travels to local communities for site visits and collaboration with local non-profits. We must continue the good work of the Council and address the high number of suicides in Alaska. House Bill 22 will extend the Council to 2027. A link to the hearing schedule and documents can be found Rep.Geran.Tarr@akelg.gov. and a live stream on Tuesday will be available . If you don’t want to call in, but want to send a letter of support, please send them to
Also on Tuesday, my House Bill 20, related to a timeline for testing sexual assault examination kits, is having another hearing in House State Affairs Committee, also with public testimony. This bill is the next step in Rape Kit Reform, an initiative I have been working on since 2014. House Bill 20 establishes a timeline for testing of kits, requires victims to be notified after testing is completed and makes the Sexual Assault Kit audit report produced by the Department of Public Safety include more detail. You may remember last year we passed House Bill 31 with new reporting options for victims of sexual assault as well a training requirement for law enforcement on sexual assault response. That bill, with the addition of money for testing the backlog of kits, brought us closer to achieving the reforms necessary to truly bring justice to victims. Now, with House Bill 20 we recognize the rights of victims for timely testing of their sexual assault kit and notification that the testing has been completed. Links to the documents and meetings can be found .
Other personal legislation includes House Bill 56, establishing May 15th every year as Hmong American Veterans Day in Alaska. This bill has passed out of two committees and is headed to the House Floor for a vote soon.
House Bill 27, banning the sale of products with cancer causing flame-retardant chemicals was heard in the House Resources committee last week and heard public testimony. Cancer is a leading cause of premature death in firefighters who are exposed to these toxic chemicals when the materials that contain them burn in house fires.
Other Events Around the Capitol
This past week we had a very fun mock hearing with a group of enthusiastic Girl Scouts. I do this every year as a way to teach the Girl Scouts about the legislative process. I had so much fun listening to their thoughtful questions and was excited to once again be teaching and getting our young people excited about the legislative process. I love seeing these young women play the role of legislator and Committee Chair!
Pictured to the right: Rep. Tarr with the Girl Scouts ready to do the Girl Scout promise.
Also last week I was also able to teach a class remotely for UAA for National Public Health Week, about the role public health professionals can play in policy development. It was well attended and hopefully brought some added awareness about how to engage in the legislative process as an advocate.
To learn more about National Public Health Week and their calls to action, please visit this site: http://www.nphw.org/
Pictured to the right: Rep. Tarr delivers her advocacy training remotely from her desk in the capitol.
All my best,
P.S. Two community councils meet this week. Mountain View Community Council is tonight starting at 6 pm at the ACLT office at the Mountain View Service Center and Russian Jack Community Council meets this Wednesday, April 10th, at 6:30 pm at Wonder Park Elementary School. Hope you can attend!