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February 7, 2020
Working on a Budget that Fits Alaska’s Needs
As the third workweek of the 2020 legislative session comes to a close, I wanted to give you an update on what I’ve been working on and what to expect next week.
The finance subcommittees in the House have been doing the detailed work to develop the state budget. Each subcommittee has been meeting multiple times a week to look closely at the budget for a particular state agency. I sit on four finance subcommittees.
The finance subcommittees in the House are scheduled to close out their work on the budget next week. I am looking for efficiencies to save the state money while firmly opposing unwise cuts that jeopardize the essential state services that make Alaska a great place to live, work, play, and raise a family. Whatever our fiscal situation, the roads must be plowed, children must be educated, and we must have healthcare.
My other budget priority is to pass a budget on time without the delays that cost jobs and confidence in our state government. Last year, it took eight long months to get to a final budget. We cannot allow that to happen again this year.
The finance subcommittee binders used by Rep. Tuck for the 2020 legislative session.
The House Honors the Legacy of Bettye Davis
The Alaska House of Representatives passed a resolution on Monday that will name the committee room used by the House Education and Health Committees after the late Bettye Davis, who served in both the House and Senate. Bettye Davis was the first African American ever elected to the Alaska State Senate, and she was the first African American woman elected to the Alaska House of Representatives.
Bettye Davis was in the Senate when I was a freshman lawmaker, and I recalled my very first meeting with the Senator during my floor speech Monday supporting the resolution. Bettye Davis was a great example for new lawmakers because she treated everyone with respect and was always focused on improving the lives of the people of Alaska. I think it’s entirely appropriate that Bettye Davis join the likes of Max Gruenberg, Al Adams, Ramona Barnes, Bettye Fahrenkamp, Bill Beltz, and John Butrovich in having a room in the capital named in their honor.
Help for Military Families
A really good bill passed the Alaska House of Representatives Monday with near-unanimous support. I helped review Rep. Gabrielle LeDoux’s House Bill 109 last year in the House Military and Veterans Affairs Committee, and I was an enthusiastic yes vote Monday on the House Floor.
House Bill 109 will help Alaska’s new military families by allowing them to register their children for school before they are physically in Alaska. The bill allows families to use documentation of a pending military relocation for registrations and applications with the caveat that the family provides proof of residency within ten days of the child starting school.
HB 109 eliminates burdensome requirements that negatively impact new students from military families. Alaska is a military state, and we should always look for ways to make the transition to Alaska as seamless as possible. HB 109 does that, and I look forward to swift consideration of the bill in the Alaska State Senate.
The voting board for House Bill 109, which passed the Alaska House of Representatives by a vote of 37-1.
Organized Labor Wants to Keep Alaska Working
Last week, I had the honor of speaking at the annual Alaska AFL-CIO Legislative Conference. My message to organized labor was to keep the faith and demand a strong economy for good-paying jobs. We need to protect Alaska Hire, stand up for working men and women, and continue investing in apprenticeships and trade schools. Because of labor's efforts, the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development pulled back earlier today on an ill-advised attempt to kill much of the skilled training available to Alaska’s workers.
Rep. Tuck speaking about the importance of organized labor during the annual Alaska AFL-CIO legislative conference in Juneau on Wednesday, January 29.
Rep. Tuck with members of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) after a discussion of labor issues in Alaska on Tuesday, January 28, 2020.
I’m here for you, so please keep in touch on matters important to you and your family!
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