A close up of a signDescription automatically generated

2020 Legislative Session is Underway! 

 

 

Rep. Wool joins the House Majority for a group photo on the Floor at the beginning of the 2020 Legislative Session.
 

 

Dear friends, neighbors, and fellow Fairbanksans,


The second half of the 31st legislature is underway! We are down in Juneau now and have been working hard on these past few weeks on the State’s Operating budget. This year I am a member of House Finance, and I am enjoying this new role and the extra work I have chairing budget subcommittees, which is our process for working on each Department’s budget. The hope is to have a completed operating budget through the House as soon as possible, so there is lots to do in a short amount of time. I am also kept busy with meetings, legislation, and other issues that arise as we work our way through the first half of the session.
 

My New Role: House Finance Committee
 

 This year I am working on the influential House Finance committee and while I’ll miss being involved in Labor & Commerce and having my hand in many different facets of state government, the Finance Committee has a hand in nearly every decision the legislature makes. 

My role on the Finance Committee has kept me quite busy, meeting every day in order to examine the Governor’s proposed budget.  Luckily, the governor has slowed down on his massive cuts to the budget, but we still have not figured out how to get ourselves out of this fiscal quagmire.

As part of the budget process and my role on the House Finance Committee, I am tasked with leading subcommittees for the Department of Corrections (DOC) and the Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development (DCCED).  These subcommittees are a chance to do an in-depth dive into a department’s budget, hear presentations, and analyze any changes from the previous fiscal year. They allow members who are not on the Finance Committee to make recommendations to be presented to the full committee.
 

 

Rep. Wool chairs the House Finance budget subcommittee for the Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development.

 

 

PFD Working Group Wraps Up
 

 Prior to the beginning of session, the PFD working group met to go over the possible options for the PFD and how it fits into solving the budget deficit. There were some productive discussions, and this process allowed legislators from across the State and with many different opinions to share their thoughts and concerns. I was happy to be chosen for this committee and to help get lots of ideas on the table for discussion.

 I have some ideas about what we should do with the PFD and look forward to continuing to work on the bill I introduced last session- HB 132. This bill would more closely tie the yearly PFD checks to the State’s oil wealth. I hope to see this bill gain traction this session.

 
Tammie Wilson Resigns Position as District 3 Representative
 

Last week, we learned that Rep. Tammie Wilson of North Pole had resigned from her role as Representative of District 3 in order to take up a new position in the Department of Health and Social Services. While many things can be said about the work and tenure of Rep. Wilson, her unparalleled tenacity and work for her district and region stands out. She kept everyone on their toes and was exciting to work with.


 

 

Rep. Wool shares a moment with Rep. Carpenter on the House Floor.

 


State of the State
 

 Last week the Governor gave his state of the state address, in which he announced new initiatives including a state lottery and a proposal to enable Alaskans to opt for land instead of a cash PFD. He pushed his motto that “Alaska is open for business” and called for more resource development, renewable energy, and amendments that limit government spending and taxation. The Governor also addressed his priority of public safety. He introduced two new bills in the senate and a companion bill in the house; these bills are intended to help enforce standards for appointments for police and VPSOs. Additionally, they increase the penalty for cases of human trafficking. He listed teacher retirement and retention as a priority and mentioned benefits as a factor. This bodes well for the possibility of revamping our state employee benefits statutes which we constantly hear are a big factor in many areas of employee retention including public safety, firefighters, and many others.

There are many ways in which the Governor’s proposed budget this year is less harmful than last year, but he has chosen to balance his budget this year by drawing down on the State’s savings account. I do not think that this is a good solution to our fiscal problems. There is certainly more work to be done with his budget.

 
Meetings, Meetings, and More Meetings
 

 We are working this session at a breakneck speed.  I have had nonstop meetings with constituents, groups who are down in Juneau, and other legislators working hard for Alaska. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting with Tim Parker of the NEA and the UA Alumni association recently and continue to fight for the University system and education in Alaska. Thanks to everyone who has called, emailed, or visited so far and please feel free to continue to reach out this session.

 

Meeting with the UA Alumni Delegation members.

 



Meet My Staff

Ashley Carrick
 Ashley is my year-round staff from Fairbanks, joining me for a 3rd session and her 4th year working with the Legislature. She has a BA is Psychology from UAF and is currently finishing her Practicum through the MPH Program at UAA. She is covering the House Finance committee this session and will also be carrying legislation for me. When she’s not at work, Ashley loves spending time with her husband Mathew and her beagles Beelz and Zephyr going hiking, skiing, and playing board games.
 
Stephanie Andrew
 Stephanie is joining my team this year for her third session with the Legislature.  Stephanie has an undergraduate degree in Art and Psychology and a master’s degree in Social Work.  Although she resides in Juneau year-round, she is excited to assist in representing the good people of Fairbanks.  She will be working in tandem with Ashley to cover the House Finance Committee and working on some of my personal legislation.  In her free time, Stephanie enjoys music and the arts as well as exploring the beauty of Alaska.

Lyda Rees
 Lyda is returning to the Legislature after previously serving as an intern in 2017. She graduated from UAS with an interdisciplinary studies degree with emphasis in anthropology and political science. She works hard to solve challenges for constituents and makes sure folks are where they need to be, during the busy legislative session. When she isn’t at the capitol, she’s operating her small business as a knife sharpener or playing outside.

 

 

Rep. Wool and his staff Ashley, Stephanie, and Lyda take a lighthearted photo at the beginning of session.

 

The 2020 Census is upon us!

The Census is coming to Fairbanks in March. Alaska Counts is a nonpartisan education initiative to inform public, private, nonprofit, and Native entities representing the interests of people around the state about the 2020 Census.
The census is an important opportunity to be counted as an Alaskan. Getting an accurate count is crucial to receiving federal resources. Be counted!

“Census data is used as the basis for distributing more than $800 billion in federal funds annually to states, boroughs, and communities to support resources such as schools, hospitals, and fire departments. State legislative districts and local political boundaries are redrawn using census data, and these data also inform business decisions, policy, community initiatives, and consumer advocacy.
Local census takers, or enumerators, will start counting Alaskans in villages and rural Alaska communities in January 2020. Residents of Anchorage, Fairbanks and other large Alaska cities will respond to the 2020 Census online, by phone, or mail in mid-March.” –
https://alaskacounts.org
 
 

Wondering how can you stay engaged during session? Here are some tips:
 
Watch Gavel Alaska on KUAC TV!- Unfortunately Gavel to Gavel is not available anymore, KUAC is currently the only station statewide that doesn’t broadcast 360 North over the air. Fairbanks has the highest rabbit ears percentage population in the country, many people have limited internet and need broadcast access. Please write or call to KUAC to restore broadcasting of 360 North’s Gavel Alaska. 474-7491
As Fairbanksans who want to remain engaged with Alaska public affairs, “Gavel Alaska” is the unedited live and tape-delayed coverage of state government activities, including the Alaska Legislature when it is in session. Most committee hearings are broadcast on Gavel Alaska at www.360north.org or through the Live Now tab on the legislature’s home page. House and Senate floor sessions are also available on Gavel Alaska.
 
Keep Track of Bills – Interested in tracking bills through the legislative process? You can follow along on BASIS: http://www.akleg.gov/basis/Home/BillsandLaws. Just type a bill number (example: HB1) in the search bar at the top of the page, or go to the Sponsor Summary to focus on my bills
 
Bill Tracking Management Facility (BTMF) – Track the status of bills as they pass through the legislative process. BTMF will display the status of bills you are interested in and can also send you email updates as the bill's status changes. BTMF is a free service and only requires you to set up an account.
 
SMS Bill Tracking – Text a bill number to 559-245-2529 to enroll in text alerts. You will receive an enrollment confirmation and instructions on how to stop receiving the alerts.
 
Access Budget Materials – Both the Governor’s Office of Management and Budget website and the Legislative Finance Division website have helpful tools and presentations relating to the budget.
 
Chat with Legislative Information Staff – Monday-Friday between 8:30am and 4pm you will find a new chat interface in the lower right corner of AKLeg.gov. The LIO staff can help answer questions about finding things on the legislature’s website, tracking legislation, and contacting legislators. Let us know how we can help you.
 
Visit the Fairbanks Legislative Information Office – The Fairbanks LIO is a non-partisan state office that helps inform citizens and facilitate communication between the Legislature and the public. Visit the LIO Monday through Friday, 8am – 5pm, on the third floor of the Alaska USA Financial Center, located at 1292 Sadler Way Ste 308; or give them a call at 907-452-4448.
 
Facebook- like my page Rep. Adam Wool, Fairbanks District 5 for updates throughout the year.
Contact me with your questions, concerns, and ideas. You can always reach me at rep.adam.wool@akleg.gov, and while we are in Juneau for the session call us at 907-465-4976. If you are in Juneau, come visit us on the 5th Floor of the State Capitol in Room 501. 
 


Best Wishes, 

 

 

If you would like to unsubscribe from these periodic enews updates, please reply with the word “unsubscribe.”