Dear Friends and Neighbors,

It has been another busy week here in Juneau, our 7th of this session, filled with Finance Committee hearings, Finance Subcommittee hearings, and House floor sessions.


I’ll share more Juneau updates and information below, but first want to make certain you are invited to come and share YOUR thoughts and questions IN PERSON, IN ANCHORAGE on March 9th at two events!


Below you will find information on the Governor's disappointing threat to veto SB140 unless the Legislature acts at lightening speed to pass his vaguely articulated education policy wishlist. Also, details on two bills I co-sponsored, a childcare bill and a bill expanding UA scholarship opportunities for Alaskan high school graduates that passed the House this week and are headed to the Senate for consideration.


Meanwhile, my House Bill 156, establishing a basic state income tax for Alaska, was heard in committee, including public testimony, but continued to be stalled by this current Majority. Much thanks to the many who contributed to the robust turnout in public support by calling, emailing, and stopping by my office to share their views. What an incredible district we live in, where so many people are open to exploring a state income tax as part of building a long term fiscal plan to keep our essential services flowing! This Bill will likely not move this year, given the current political climate, but I appreciate how many of you understand the implications of continuing to kick the can down the road.


I'm very much looking forward to seeing and hearing from you again soon, whether back home in Anchorage this coming weekend, or in my home away from home, the Capitol.


Warmly,

Alyse

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Watch my Weekly 5 Minute Wrap-Up Video!


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You're invited!


Please be aware of two opportunities to chat with me next Saturday, March 9.


More details below...

In the Capitol

Congresswoman Mary Peltola in the Capitol

I was proud to hear from my friend and our sole representative in Congress, Mary Peltola, who came to the Alaska Legislature on Monday and shared remarks, advice, and encouragement. Here is a link to her speech


Here I share a light-hearted moment catching up with Mary Peltola, and my colleague and friend, Representative Ashley Carrick from Fairbanks. 

About that Education Bill...


As I mentioned above, Governor Dunleavy held a press conference on Facebook earlier this week to express his opposition to the historic bill on education (a compromise by all factions) that the Legislature negotiated and passed last week. Unfortunately, our Governor was very dismissive about the bill that 38 of 40 Representatives and 18 of 20 Senators voted to pass. In a very odd and circuitous manner, the Governor ultimately threatened to veto SB140 unless the Legislature passes a separate bill that contains items he felt were missing from SB140. Although not clearly stated by the Governor, it appears that he wants a bill that includes Governor control over the creation of new charter schools, and an expensive teacher bonus program that has never been proven to help with teacher recruitment and retention.


According to Alaska state law, Governor Dunleavy has until March 14 to veto or sign SB140, or it will automatically become law without his signature.


I’m disappointed (though not surprised) by the Governor’s response to this hard fought-over bill, given how well the House (eventually) came together to negotiate what was a compromise for all. The Governor has never shown a willingness to discuss options with parties that disagree with him, let alone compromise to a mutually acceptable alternative!


The Alaska public (educators, parents, students, and ordinary Alaskans) came out in droves and wrote passionately to share their wishes, concerns, goals, and dreams for education in Alaska, and the Legislature responded accordingly. Democracy is working in Alaska, at least within the Legislature. Now the question is whether the Governor will listen to this overwhelming message from Alaskans, or continue to believe that he alone knows what should be done with Alaska's education system.


If you would like to share your thoughts with the Governor, here's a link to Governor Dunleavy's email form, where you can reach him with your comments, suggestions, and ideas. feedback on SB 140.


Double Override? It may be necessary...


At this point, I expect to see a Governor veto of SB140 and I sincerely hope to see a quick veto-override vote. To override a Governor's veto of a bill, there muse be 40 "yes" votes of the 60 legislators meeting in joint session.


Even following a veto override of SB140, the battle is not over! The operating budget will include funds required under SB140, including the BSA amount, student transportation funds, and additional assistance for K-3 students who need help meeting the standards put in place by the previous Legislature's READS Act. Given his history,


I fully expect this Governor to veto much of that education funding from the budget (even though no Governor has previously vetoed funds from the BSA's Foundational Formula). If he does, the Legislature will need to override that budget veto, and it will require 45 of the 60 Legislators to vote in favor of a veto. So, please stay tuned...unfortunately, the fight may have only begun!

...Other Bills on the Move...

House Bill 89: Childcare


This bill passed unanimously and I was happy to co-sponsor it. When passed by the Senate and signed by the Governor, the law will allow tax credits for corporations who choose to offer childcare benefits to employees. It will also expand eligibility of childcare assistance to more Alaskans. It is a first step in growing opportunities for some children and I look forward to more work on this important issue in the future. Click here to see the bill.


House Bill 148- Alaska Performance Scholarship


This long overdue bill will raise the dollar amount for the Alaska Performance Scholarship (for example the first tier will be raised to $7000 from $4755) in keeping up with the rising UA tuition costs. The administrative costs are covered by operating budget dollars but the scholarships come out of a fund dedicated to University of Alaska Scholarships. There will also be more opportunity for more high school students to apply for the scholarships because eligibility now includes a track for students in a predominantly career technology track. Click here to see the bill.



House Bill 156: State Income Bill


My Alaska state income tax bill was heard in House Ways and Means this past week - thank you to so many of you who took the time to call in or write! I was overjoyed to see my inbox filled with letters and stories from Alaskans around the state who took the time to write and offer their ideas, wishes, and aspirations with regards to an income tax for our great state. Whether you supported the idea, opposed it, or weren't sure, I was grateful to have the opportunity to hear from nearly two-hundred of you! Wow! FYI, over 90% supported the idea. A few of you had good ideas for some amendments. As I mentioned, will likely not move this year, given the current political climate, but I appreciate how many of you understand the implications of continuing to kick the can down the road, because any broad-based revenue measure will likely take over a year to implement. Advance planning will be important! Click here to see the bill.

Alyse's Office Hours -

My Meetings with Alaskans

It was again just such a joy to meet with and hear from many constituents and fellow Alaskans between long stretches on the House Floor and in the Finance Committee this week.

 

Please, keep calling, keep writing, keep coming in and down to Juneau to make your wishes known, and ask your government to answer questions and ask for the Alaska we all deserve.


You can reach out to my staff to set up a time to meet or to talk by phone. I’m grateful for the opportunity to serve the people of Alaska District 14, and am always honored to represent you.


Below are some highlights from this week:

When a new constituent works right downstairs!

I love meeting new constituents, and it's especially fun when the new constituent in question works right downstairs! Seth works in the office of Senator Forrest Dunbar, from Anchorage's District J, and let me know that he had recently moved into our district!

University of Alaska Campus Leaders

Tina, Student Union President, and Student Presidents Charley with University of Alaska Fairbanks, Helena with University Alaska Anchorage, and Amber from the University of Alaska Mat-Su campus visited to speak about their UA student experiences. All spoke about their concerns of campus safety and the need for counseling, and it being fundamental to facilitate learning. Our office connected these great young female leaders with the great leaders from NAMI, below, for brainstorming ways to improve on-campus support. I also heard about critical needs for a new roof at the Kenai campus.


National Alliance for

Mental Illness (NAMI)

Ann Ringstad, Executive Director, NAMI Alaska, Inc. & Dr. Shirley Holloway, (former Commissioner of Education, long-time educator and President Emerita of NAMI Alaska), shared their priorities of ensuring all Alaskans have access to care, supporting workforce development, protection and education of children and young adults, continuing support for increasing crisis intervention measures in Alaskan communities, and fully funding Mental Health support and Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority FY25 budget requests.

PS: If you or someone you love is in crisis, Dial 988 anywhere in Alaska, Or text NAMI to 741741 for 24/7 confidential free crisis counseling

Key Campaign

People who experience a disability and their supporters held a march and rally on the Capitol steps this week to highlight their request for continuing to reduce the waitlist for services, support housing vouchers, and transport funding and ask for funds of $13 million to pay for increased service rates. Ric, Amanda and Dominique spoke about Medicaid and behavioral health improvement needs, a waitlist or 330 Alaskans that is 50-60 months long for services, and more. It was an honor to meet with these articulate advocates..


University of Alaska Faculty

UAS/UAF faculty members Jackie, Jenny, Ataur, Ican, Abel) came by to voice their support for HB 236, to establish the University of Alaska major maintenance and modernization fund, and address the back log of deferred maintenance. As an education advocate, our conversation ended up being far-ranging and expansive including how the university is just now regaining a lost generation of faculty, due to draconian cuts 2015-2022. The University lost 1/3 of their faculty! They are starting to turn around and enrollment is up for the first time in a quite a few years. Good to see you folks!

Caregiver and Service Employees International Union (SEIU)

Emmaline, a constituent and care giver, came in to speak with me accompanied by Joan, an SEIU Representative, and they both helped educate me on their experiences providing in-home care for a family member, and their challenges to receive Medicaid Reimbursement for their services. With higher reimbursement rates, they hope to see more transparency and higher wages for caregivers.

Alaska Primary Care Association

Jessie with the Alaska Community Health Center and Deputy Director of Alaska Primary Care Association (APCA), stopped by to discuss workforce challenges, Medicaid vs. medicare level payments, patient-centered whole-person care, and the role of Health Centers in Alaska's Healthcare system.

STAR Alaska (Video Link)

I had an incredible conversation with representatives from Abused Women's Aid in Crisis (AWAIC) and Standing Together Against Rape (STAR) Alaska.


Take a look this very short video for the number one shocking fact I learned from our conversation, and thank you to Suzie and Keeley for coming in to meet with me!


This video represents a new feature I'm calling, "Capitol Chatter". Let me know what you think of these short videos as I put them out.

Facing Foster Care in Alaska

My friend and fellow Representative, Andrew Gray from Anchorage's District 20, hosted an incredible group of young people who presented at a Lunch & Learn on the topic of 'Facing Foster Care in Alaska'. It was a real pleasure to speak more extensively with them back at my office later in the day. Thanks for being so brave in sharing your stories!

Hometown News

Anchorage Delegation Townhall

And Coffee and Donuts with Alyse

This Saturday

I'm so pleased to be heading home to Anchorage this weekend with two opportunities to interact with constituents. If you have time, please consider joining me at either or both of these events.

Serving you,

District 14 Community Council Schedule

You're always invited to your local neighborhood gathering!

Tudor

Spenard

Rogers Park

Midtown

March 7th



7 p.m.


Fire Station Four

March 6th



7 p.m.


Spenard Rec Center

March 11th



7 p.m.


Rogers Park Elementary School Library

March 13th



12 p.m.


3000 "C" St. Building

We Look Forward to Hearing From, and Serving You!

Representative Alyse Galvin


Anchorage LIO

1500 W Benson Blvd.

Room 325

Anchorage, AK 99503


Office: 907-465-3875

Representative.Alyse.Galvin@akleg.gov

Senator Elvi Gray-Jackson


Anchorage LIO

1500 W Benson Blvd.

Room 328

Anchorage, AK 99503


Office: 907-269-0174

Senator.Elvi.Gray-Jackson@akleg.gov

Congresswoman

Mary Peltola


Anchorage Office:

121 W Fireweed Ln, Ste. 260

Anchorage, AK 99503

 

Phone: 907-921-6575


Peltola.House.Gov

Senator

Lisa Murkowski


510 L Street

Suite 600

Anchorage, AK 99501


Phone: (907) 271-3735


Murkowski.Senate.Gov

Senator

Dan Sullivan


510 L Street

Suite 750

Anchorage, AK 99501


Phone: (907) 271-5915


Sullivan.Senate.Gov

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