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May 4th, 2018

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

HB 31: Statewide Rape Kit Reform

Legislation that is part of our ongoing work to end the backlog of untested rape kits in Alaska has passed the Alaska Legislature unanimously. My bill, HB 31, and a separate appropriation in the capital budget, will be used to test more than 3000 rape kits that have been sitting on police shelves for decades.

 

The DNA evidence obtained through testing sexual assault kits is a proven tool to solve and prevent crime. DNA evidence in Anchorage was used to charge a serial rapist for a series of attacks in 2014 that linked to crimes and victims as far back as 2001.

 

According to the FBI Uniform Crime Report, 60% of Alaska women report having experienced sexual violence. This bill will help prosecute criminals and support survivors by requiring 12 hours of sexual assault training for police officers and requiring an annual audit of the number of untested kits.

Rep. Tarr, staff, and members from ANDVSA after the Senate passed HB31!

House Bill 31 provides a victim-centered approach to reporting sexual assaults in the state. With two reporting options following an assault, an individual can report the crime to local law enforcement or have the evidence collected anonymously. Anonymous victim reporting does not require the survivor to make contact with law enforcement or report a crime in order to preserve any time-sensitive evidence. I have worked on this legislation for nearly four years.

I want to thank Governor Bill Walker, the law enforcement community, the sexual assault kit initiative team and the following non-profit organizations for their strong support and advocacy: The Joyful Heart Foundation, the Alaska Network on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault and Standing Together Against Rape. I also want to thank Alaska Sen. Anna MacKinnon and Sen. Kevin Meyer for their help. This was a huge bi-partisan effort that will have a significant impact on taking dangerous offenders and serial rapists off the streets and helping victims of this violent crime heal.

 

HB 217: Promoting Alaska Grown!

We did it! House Bill 217 has passed the House and Senate! HB 217 encourages the State of Alaska, school districts, and municipalities to buy more “Alaska Grown” produce and fish, and authorizes the Department of Natural Resources to sell products with the Alaska Grown logo.  

Did you know that almost all of our food is imported from outside?  The Division of Agriculture estimates that if we spent just $5 more a week on Alaska Grown it would have a $188 million impact on our economy (see image at right).   Supporting our agriculture industry is good for our economy, good for health, and good for food security in Alaska.

HB 217 will increase opportunities for Alaska farmers and farmers markets, which earned $2 million in sales at more than 41 locations including the Mountain View Farmer’s Market and the Fire Island Bakeshop in Airport Heights. Another positive outcome of our work on this bill is that The Alaska Food Hub, an online sales platform, will also be able to sell these locally grown, value-added foods this year through a pilot program with the Department of Environmental Conservation. Once the pilot program is successfully completed we’ll be looking to make this online sales option permanent!  Another emerging business opportunity, agro-tourism and farm tours, will also get a boost with relief from some civil liability risk for tourists with passage of the bill.

This is a huge win for our Alaska farmers and our health!  

 

 

Done: Early Education Funding

One of the highest priorities of our Alaska House Majority Coalition is early funding for education.  The last several years of delayed funding has caused unnecessary pressure for districts and tremendous stress for our education professionals that have to wait to know whether or not they will have a job the next fall.  This is inefficient, causes us to lose great teachers, and is bad for our students.  I am proud to say that HB 287, sponsored by every member of the Alaska House Majority Coalition, was signed into law yesterday.  We are pushing for additional funding to avoid layoffs altogether this year, but at least districts can plan now with what was passed in HB 287.  

We had fun at the bill signing yesterday surrounded by students at Harborview Elementary School here in Juneau.  We were honored by a performance by the Tlingit Culture and Language Students that danced and sang at the beginning of the signing ceremony.  Governor Walker was surrounded by students on all sides as he signed the historic bill.  This is the firs time education funding has been passed early and in a stand alone bill.

 

 

 

Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions, concerns, or ideas! I love hearing from you!

All my best,

signed: Geran Tarr
Representative Geran Tarr

P.S. Final negotiations on the operating budget are happening now.  If funding for an important program is a concern for you, please get in touch and let us know to get an update.  

MY OFFICE

SESSION
State Capitol Bldg. Room 128
Juneau, AK 99801
P (907) 465-3424

INTERIM
1500 W Benson Blvd
Anchorage, AK 99503
P (907) 269-0144 F (907) 269-0148

Rep.Geran.Tarr@akleg.gov
http://www.repgerantarr.com/
http://www.facebook.com/geran.tarr

 Diana Rhoades, Legislative Director

Diana.Rhoades@akleg.gov

Magdalena Oliveros, Legislative Aide
Magdalena.Oliveros@akleg.gov 

Thatcher Brouwer, Legislative Aide

Thatcher.Brouwer@akleg.gov

 

MY DISTRICT

Write a Letter to the Editor submit your 175 word letter to the Anchorage Daily News via e-mail letter@adn.com or fax them to 258-2157, attn: letters to the editor.

CONTACT THE GOVERNOR

550 West 7th Avenue, Suite 1700
Anchorage, AK 99501
T (907) 269-7450 F (907) 269-7461
EMAIL: Governor Bill Walker

STATE of ALASKA
http://alaska.gov/
State Info (907) 269-5111

 

 

D.C. DELEGATION

Senator Dan Sullivan
510 L St, Ste 750
Anchorage, AK 99501
T (202) 224-3004
EMAIL: Sen. Dan Sullivan

Senator Lisa Murkowski
510 L Street, Suite 600
Anchorage, AK 99501
T (907) 271-3735 F (877) 857-0322
EMAIL: Sen. Lisa Murkowski

Congressman Don Young
4241 B Street, Suite 203
Anchorage, AK 99503
T (907) 271-5978 F (907) 271-5950
EMAIL: Rep. Don Young