Representative Dean Westlake

July 21, 2017

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Contact Info:

Phone: 907.465.3473
Toll Free: 888.288.3473
Email: Rep.Dean.Westlake@akleg.gov
 

Governor Walker,
Juneau Office:
907-465-3500
EMAIL: Gov. Bill Walker
www.alaska.gov

Senator Lisa Murkowski,
Anchorage Office:
907-271-3735,
EMAIL: Sen. Lisa Murkowski

Senator Dan Sullivan,
Anchorage Office:
907-271-5915
EMAIL: Sen. Dan Sullivan

Congressman Don Young,
Anchorage Office:
907-271-5978
EMAIL: Rep. Don Young

State Sen. Donny Olson
Juneau Office:
907-465-3707
EMAIL: Sen. Donny Olson

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Rep. Westlake presenting  HJR 19 on the House Floor. HJR 19 is an important step in protecting Alaskan waters and coastline as the Arctic continues to see increased shipping traffic.
Rep. Westlake presenting HJR 19 on the House Floor. HJR 19 is an important step in protecting Alaskan waters and coastline as the Arctic continues to see increased shipping traffic.

End of Legislative Session...For Now

The 2017 regular session adjourned on the 17th of May and almost immediately Governor Walker called for a special session to address some major pieces of legislation. In addition to the operating, capital, and mental health budgets, included on the docket were:

HB 60/SB25—Motor Fuels Tax: The main objective we are working on is to exempt aviation fuel from this tax as it would put unfair strain on travel to residents of rural areas, especially district 40.

HB 111—Oil and Gas tax: We are working with leadership to eliminate cashable credits, while still keeping a vibrant oil and gas industry and encouraging both new and continued development.

HB 159/SB79—Opioids: This legislation will help the state find solutions to dealing with the opioid epidemic Alaska is facing.

SB 26—Percent of Market Value: ensures a stable and sustainable dividend and helps fund an operating budget that includes education, public assistance and public safety. Provides a consistent projection for spending amounts each year, which will go a long way in securing and improving Alaska’s credit rating.

Broad based tax-income tax: Not our preferred method, as it targets working Alaskans in the middle of a recession, but one that would nonetheless stabilize the budget. The Alaska House Majority Coalition believes an income tax is part of a complete fiscal plan which is more fair than a sales tax, which would hit rural residents and poorer Alaskans the hardest.

Finally, after the regular session, an extended session, two special sessions, as well as countless discussions, meetings, and long hours of work we were finally able to come to an agreement on an operating budget, which prevented a government shutdown; as well as ending cashable tax credits for the oil industry, which saves the state $1.5 Billion while not being overly burdensome on our most vital industry.

Next week we will be called back to Juneau for a 3rd special session where we hope to pass a proper capital budget, and then continue to work over the interim on the other items in the hope of setting ourselves up to efficiently address them next year.

Bill Status Update:

HB 78 Indigenous People’s Day
It is official– the Second Monday in Oct is now officially Indigenous Peoples Day in Alaska! Passed both House & Senate, signed by Governor Walker’s last month at Ned Arey’s nalukataq in Utquiagvik.

HJR 5 Endorsing ANWR Leasing; Related Issues
Passed both House & Senate, already transmitted to both Governor Walker and President Trump. It was had delivered to Senator Sullivan when he was in Juneau.

HB 135 School Construction Grant Program
Passed the House and is currently awaiting a hearing in the Senate Finance Committee. Expected to pass next session.

HB 138 Sobriety Awareness Month
Passed the House and is currently awaiting a hearing in the Senate Health & Social Services Committee. Expected to pass next session.

HB145 Massage Therapy
The language from HB 145 was incorporated into Representative Kito’s HB 110. So while HB 145 will go no further in the legislative process, it will effectively be enacted when HB 110 passes the legislature next year.

HB 171 Employment of Prisoners
Our office is continuing to work with the Department of Corrections and labor unions to draft language everyone is comfortable with. This will be worked on over the interim and we look forward to resuming its legislative process next year.

HB 211 Nonresident Hunting Requirements
Passed the House and is currently awaiting a hearing in the Senate State Affairs Committee. Expected to pass next season

HB 212 REAA & Muni School District Fund
Introduced this bill later in the session with the intention of working on it throughout the interim to prepare for the House Education & Finance Committees next year.

HJR 19 Arctic Marine Safety Agreements
Passed the House and is currently awaiting a hearing in the Senate Special Committee on the Arctic. Expected to pass next year.

Dean’s First Session at a Glance

  • Number of Bills Introduced by Rep. Westlake: 9

  • Number of Bills to have passed the House: 6

  • Number of Bills to have passed both Senate & House and await signing by Governor: 2

  • Dean’s effectiveness percentage on his bills passing the House this session (67%) and bills passing the BOTH bodies this session (22%) are impressive especially for a freshman in his first term.

Keep in touch!

[signed] Dean Westlake
Dean Westlake