Rep. Adam Wool's 
Update from Juneau:
See you this Sunday!

 

 

 

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Please join me and Rep. Bart Lebon this Sunday at the Fairbanks LIO.


Dear Friends, Neighbors, and Fellow Fairbanksans, 

This weekend, the House Finance Committee will be visiting communities around the state to give constituents the opportunity to watch a short presentation on Alaska’s fiscal situation and to share their thoughts on the budget. Although I am not on the finance committee, I will be in attendance to hear from everyone in attendance, and I’d love to hear from you.

If you can, please come see us at the Fairbanks LIO from 2-5 pm this Sunday, March 24th. The LIO is located at 1292 Sadler Way, Suite 308. If you've never been, it's located on the third floor of the bank building near Home Depot.


This week, the House wrapped up the budget subcommittee process. Each subcommittee is tasked with a different department’s budget; the governor’s proposed changes (mostly cuts) are considered one by one, with amendments considered afterwards. As a member of four committees, I was assigned to seven different subcommittees. These 7 subcommittees have largely rejected the controversial, draconian cuts proposed by the Dunleavy administration while allowing reasonable cuts to move forward.

Contrary to the Governor’s proposal, my subcommittees chose to maintain funding for the University, public broadcasting, and the ferry system. I successfully added $10M to the University budget through an amendment, bringing the University budget to $337M. This is $145M more than the governor had proposed.

The House Finance committee will now consider the budget in totality, with opportunities for additional amendments before it reaches the house floor. Although many steps remain before final passage, I’m optimistic that the final budget will maintain many of the services that so many Alaskans rely upon every day.

 

 

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Above: The 25-member member House Majority. Fairbanks and the Interior are particularly well-represented this year, with Representatives Lebon, Thompson, Wilson, Hopkins, and Wool all serving in the majority.
 

Legislation and Standing Committees:
In addition to the budget, each committee has continued to review legislation and conduct hearings. Last week, the House Transportation committee heard from over 600 Alaskans who testified in favor of maintaining the Alaska Marine Highway (ferry) System, rather than slashing its budget to a level which would obliterate local economies from Ketchikan to Unalaska. While it’s possible to cut the budget, reductions must be well-planned and designed to minimize disruption. Many of the changes in the governor’s budget fail on both fronts.

As the co-chair of the House Labor and Commerce committee, I’ve had the opportunity to hear several interesting bills this week. Chuck Kopp’s HB 79, which would allow firefighters and public safety officers to participate in the state’s defined benefits retirement program, aims to help the state retain highly trained safety professionals. It has become increasingly difficult and expensive to attract and retain firefighters and Troopers, particularly when the prospect of higher pay and better benefits exist in other states, many of which offer a defined benefits program. I’m hopeful that this bill will help reverse this trend.

I recently introduced HB 102, the Vehicle Rental Modernization Act. If passed, this bill will close a loophole in state law which has allowed app-based car rental companies to avoid paying rental taxes.

Guests in the Capitol
While this week has been packed with budget meetings, I always appreciate seeing constituents in the Capitol. Recently, I and my staff have been able to meet with constituents representing the University of Alaska Coalition of Student Leaders and the Alaska Professional Firefighters, as well as University President Jim Johnsen.

Thanks,
 

 

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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 4th Floor of the State Capitol in Room 412. 

 

 

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