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May 10th, 2018

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

What We’re Still Working On

I’m expecting we will adjourn in the next few days and I’m pleased to report that many good bills have passed in recent days, including bills to increase access to mental health care, bills that will improve the lives of Alaskans with mental or physical disabilities, and a bill to reform our foster care system.  My personal legislation to address rape kit reform and increase purchasing of Alaska Grown have also passed.

 

As the end of session is near, I wanted to report on a few of the items that remain unfinished.   

Increase of Base Student Allocation

Many constituents have reached out with thoughts on education spending. I hear and agree with you- our children deserve better. Currently, the state gives school districts a base student allocation (BSA) of $5,930 per student per year, but the House-passed HB 339, which adds $100 per child, bringing the BSA to $6,030. This 1.6 percent increase amounts to $25 million for districts statewide, roughly equal to the amount lost since 2015. The Senate hasn’t agreed to this BSA increase yet; it recently passed through the House, where I was proud to cosponsor the bill and vote yes.  If you care about education funding please reach out in these last days as we finalize the budget so all legislators will know this is a priority!

 

Smoke-Free Workplace

Another high profile piece of legislation that has stalled is the Smoke-Free Workplace bill.  I am a supporter of this bill and will vote yes.  This is about worker health and safety and there is no denying there are serious health concerns with exposure to second hand smoke.  There have been changes to the bill that will allow communities to opt of if they choose by a vote of the people.  Some don’t like this change, but it mirrors what we put in law regarding marijuana sales and I like being consistent with the opt out provision.  I expect this bill will come before us in the next day or two and will pass.  This represents a compromise between varies stakeholder groups. 

 

Alcohol Reform

SB 76 updates our Title 4 statutes- which govern the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board, increases some license fees and re-categorizes them. This is a bill that has been in the works for the last six years with significant stakeholder involvement to update our outdated alcohol statutes.  I am a supporter of the original bill.  Unfortunately, the bill was recently amended to include provisions about distilleries and breweries.  I’m referring to the change to drink limit from 36 ounces to 24 ounces.  A lot of you have reached out with concerns regarding this last minute amendment and to oppose the change.  I also oppose the change.  These are local businesses that are a bright spot in our economy and businesses were developed using the existing standards.  This change has caused an uproar and it appears has stalled passage of the bill.  I’m disappointed by this and pushed for us to move forward with the underlying bill.  At this point it appears the bill will die this session and work will continue over the interim. 

 

 

The Operating Budget

The conference committee is working hard to finish consideration on the differences between the House and Senate version of the bill.

Here are some of the remaining issues.  I support the House version for these items, although on the receipt authority for the AKLNG Project it may be necessary to include additional oversight over the funds received so Alaskans can understand what commitments are being made and so we can receive input from public. 

 

House

Senate

Oil Tax Credits

$49 M

$184 M

Medicaid

$2.23 B

$2.01 B

University

$336 M

$322 M

AK LNG authority to receive investor funds (dollars from outside Alaska to invest in the project)

$1 B

$0

Permanent Fund inflation proofing (maintains value of the fund)

$942 M

$0

 

 

Personal Legislation is Awaiting a Signature from the Governor

 

All About Alaskan Grown

My bill, HB 217, Alaskan Grown, gives the Department of Natural Resources the authority to sell products with the  Alaska Grown logo and to purchase Alaska Grown logo items at wholesale prices on behalf of farmers. This legislation also promotes agritourism by adding farm touring to statutes that limit liability for farmers who want to give tours.  It also encourages a higher percentage of Alaska grown food to be purchased by state and municipalities by providing more flexible procurement rules! The money we spend on Alaska Grown food supports our local Alaska businesses, promotes healthy lifestyles, and is a step towards food security.

 

 

Rape Kit Reform

 


House Bill 31 provides a victim-centered approach following a sexual assault, requires law enforcement officials to receive an additional twelve hours in training, and requires an annual audit of untested sexual assault kits in the state. This bill has had a long journey, and has unanimously passed the Alaska Legislature. DNA evidence in sexual assault kits is a powerful tool that will solve and prevent crime. I’m proud to say that this is a victory for victims and survivors of this interpersonal violence, and with the passage of this legislation, we are closer to bringing justice to families and safety to our communities. Soon HB31 will be signed into law.

 

Upcoming Events Around the Neighborhood

 

Our Home, Our Future with Rev. Yearwood Jr.

This Saturday, May 12th, from 11:30am-1:30pm, the Alaska Youth Advisory Commission is hosting a community-driven conversation over lunch at the Mountain View Boys and Girls Club.  Reverend Yearwood, Jr., the President and CEO of the Hip Cop Caucus will be kickstarting the lunch and hosting an open freestyle competition for those interested! Come out and join the conversation.

Mountain View Community Council

The Mountain View Community Council will be meeting on Monday, May 14th from 6-8pm at the Mountain View Boys and Girls Club. Come see the neighbors!

 

Airport Heights Community Council

The Airport Heights Community Council will be meeting on Thursday, May 17th from 7-9pm at the Airport Heights Elementary School!

 

Anchorage Fire Department Open House

Anchorage Fire Fighters Local 1264 is hosting an open house next Saturday May 19th from 11am to 3pm!

The Fire House is located at 1150 Airport Heights Drive! See you there!

 

I expect to be home in the next several days and look forward to visiting at upcoming community council meetings.   

See you soon,

signed: Geran Tarr
Representative Geran Tarr

P.S. If you have any questions on upcoming events, please don’t hesitate to contact our office, we’d be more than happy to help answer any questions you might have!

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 

 

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