Sorry for multiple versions. The early edition went out without the video link!

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

With 19-days left of session, it is really feeling like crunch time to get things done. The House and Senate recently exchanged the respective Operating/Capital Budgets and now we must reconcile them and ensure the overall budget is balanced and meets the needs of Alaskans. And there are still many other bills, likely with fiscal impacts, yet to work their way through process to passage. Honestly, some of the bills coming to the floor recently, even in the wee hours of the evening, seem like a waste of our time and resources. In this newsletter, I will lean in on the helpful bills and if you want to learn more or weigh in, point you in a direction for that.


The recent Superior Court ruling on homeschool education funding upends the discussions on education and brings to the forefront that families choosing options other than neighborhood schools must have guardrails following the constitutional vision of no public dollars for the direct benefit of private or religious institutions. Amendments to bills are already in the works. And of course, we must do better for the 80% of our students in neighborhood schools as well. This IS POSSIBLE to do in a few weeks, yet I have no certainty that there is political will to accomplish this as the Governor seems to be leaning in the direction of amending the constitution to completely change the direction of public funds in public schools, allowing for private and religious school tuition payments with public funds.


Outside of Finance, it has been a busy two weeks as well - read on for more info regarding bills, a House legislative listening session on education,visits with leaders from Asian American Pacific Islanders' advocacy group and firefighters; Access Alaska, and more. Plus, I am highlighting a few events taking place over the weekend.


As usual, I look forward to hearing your thoughts on all of the developments I share in my newsletter.


Warmly,

Alyse

No Time to Read the Whole Newsletter?

Watch my "Capitol Countdown" video here

In the Capitol

Budget

So far, the Capital budget bill process in the House is starting out in a tricky position. We already have what is effectively an unbalanced budget in the Operating budget, which means the legislators from both the House and Senate who end up on the conference committee, tasked with reconciling the two different bill versions of the budget, will have a tough chore to find a way to a balanced budget that will earn enough votes to pass both bodies. What is likely going to happen is a compromise between the Capital Budget and the size of the PFD check. More on that as I hear more.


Energy

There are several energy bills rushing through House Finance attempting to address a looming energy crisis, particularly in Southcentral. The primary cause is a recognition that when the current supply contracts for natural gas expire, there is real doubt whether there will be enough natural gas production to meet demand. In addition, the current supply-demand balance is so tight right now, particularly on high-demand cold winter nights, that any unplanned interruption of the system (such as a recent hiccup in the gas storage system) can result in brownouts or worse. There is a recognition that something needs to be done soon to get ahead of the problem. The options being discussed are diverse and address different aspects of what could come together as a package of measures:


  • Royalty Relief for New Gas Production
  • Green Bank support to help new renewable projects
  • Renewable Portfolio Standards to help the renewable market
  • Rig purchase credits to encourage new oil and gas exploration
  • Gas Storage expansion
  • Seismic Data Giveaway to encourage exploration
  • Electric Transmission Line re-organization for efficiency


It is possible that we will see an omnibus bill with many of these components rolled into one bill by the time the session is over because many of these bills came to us late in session and are complicated. I will also flag that bills changing or adding tax regimes typically require outside analysts and modeling to properly vet and I am concerned we have not done that work yet.

Education

With the smoldering wreckage of SB140 still in everyone's recent memory, the House Majority is scrambling to reassemble something that looks like it will address the HUGE needs of the Alaska public school system, all while trying to satisfy the Governor's unreasonable and unsupported proposals for teacher bonuses (rather than raises and a real retirement system), and unfettered (and now confirmed unconstitutional) allotments to correspondence schools. It's going to be a difficult, if not impossible task, to achieve in the closing days of the regular session. Of course, much of this could have been avoided with one more vote to override the veto of SB140.


To add even more chaos to the existing crisis, the Superior Court recently struck down as unconstitutional the statutes passed in 2014 (sponsored by then-Senator Dunleavy) creating broad individual allotments to correspondence students that were clearly being used in many cases to subsidize religious school tuition. This decision has threatened the legitimate funding of home school families who were using the long-standing system to pay for curriculum and other education aides. As a result, the legislature must act quickly to protect the long-standing home school support program and provide the guidelines to keep it within the constitutional requirements. It's not a difficult task, unless the Governor gets his allies to muck it up in order to preserve his (and the Attorney General's) fight to send public funds to religious schools.


Multiple education bills are in the mix (HB392, SB52, HB139, etc.) and any one or more of them could become the vehicle for whatever package of education provisions can gain support in both bodies. At this point in the session, the individual bill numbers and sections becomes less important than their component parts that could be put in the final package. I will make every effort to get the word out as the package begins to come together



Other Work on Education

In the wake of the Superior Court decision, this past Monday night I was very pleased to host a well-attended listening session on education in Alaska to better inform legislators as we focus on how education policy can help lift all of Alaska's families.

Over 100 Alaskans signed up to attend the event, and to share their experiences. 12 legislators from across Alaska, representing more than 216,000 constituents took part.

All parents who attended spoke to the need for predictable, adequate, consistent funding for education in Alaska. Correspondence school parents spoke passionately about their desire for protection of their choice of homeschool learning and charters, while neighborhood school parents and family members shared the same passion and hope for safe, rigorous programs and enriching extracurricular offerings in brick-and-mortar neighborhood schools.

Across the board, we heard from parents, grandparents and others who have concerns for the future of public education for their students in neighborhood, correspondence and charter schools that the way forward is to unite and create legislation that lifts ALL student learning.


The legislators in attendance included Minority Leader Calvin Schrage, Rep. Genevieve Mina, House Education Committee Co-Chair Justin Ruffridge, Rep. Cliff Groh, Rep. Andi Story, Rep. Donna Mears, Rep. Dan Ortiz, Rep. Rebecca Himschoot, Rep. Andrew Gray, Rep. Zack Fields, and Rep. Jennie Armstrong.

 

Thank you to the many parents, family members, and guardians who spoke with us on Monday night - you gave us each a lot to think about, and I remain committed to working to solve the education puzzle in Alaska!

Defined Benefits - SB88

Kudos to the Alaska Professional Firefighters who are Alaska's great first responders! They lined the halls of the fifth floor in the Capitol on Tuesday and then held a Rally on the steps of the Capitol to call attention to the recruitment and retention crisis they are facing. They made it clear they are asking for Legislators in the House to "Hear the Bill" referring to SB88.

Standing with colleagues from the House and Senate as Senator Cathy Giessel speaks to the Firefighters at the Rally for SB88 on Tuesday of this week.

Snaps from the Floor

Congratulations to my friend Representative Donna Mears! Last week, she presented HB337 (an act establishing 4-H Day on first Wednesday of October each year) on the House Floor and it passed and is now making its way through the Senate.

Meetings with Alaskans

It is always such a pleasure to meet with and hear from many constituents and fellow Alaskans between long stretches amending the budget!


Please feel free to reach out to my staff to set up a time to meet or to talk to me by phone. I’m grateful for the opportunity to serve the people of Alaska District 14.

Alaska Mariculture

I had a great conversation Jason, Executive Director of the Alaska Mariculture Alliance. Mariculture is a growing and exciting industry here in Alaska, and I was interested to learn about the importance of HB329 to the mariculture alliance because the bill ensures there is a long enough time built into leases to get projects to fruition.

Alaska Excel



Thanks to James, Nellie Ann and Noah for sharing their inspiring stories of the Continuing Technology Education offered to rural students.I know you will be offering much to our state as you take on careers in Healthcare and Aviation.

Advocates from the Asian American Pacific Islanders were in town to host a reception and visit with legislators garnering support for SB 131, an Act requiring education in the history and contributions of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders who have done much for our state. This bill is sponsored by Senator Elvi Gray-Jackson.

Here is a fun video of my recent commute to work. The Capitol can sometimes feel far away, if you haven't been down to Juneau before - I hope this helps it feel more familiar and accessible!

A drone video of Alyse biking from her home to the Capitol.

Happening in the District!

I plan to head home to our district for a quick visit next weekend and hope to see you at one or more of these great community events!

Join Me for Constituent Coffee and Conversation!

LOCATION

Midtown Steam Dot Coffee - 600 E Northern Light Blvd

DATE AND TIME

05/04/24 11:00am - 05/04/24 12:00pm US/Alaska
Bring your questions, ideas for policy, and good humor. The entrance is on the Benson Blvd side of the Midtown Mall.
I'll Be There!
Maybe
I Can't Make It

On Friday, May 3 from 4-9pm, community activist, advocate, and artist Duke Russel and Friends are hosting 'Make a Sit Down Dinner: A Community Art Project' at the Nave in Spenard.

On Saturday, March 4th I hope to attend the 55th (wow!) annual Walk & Roll for Hope, hosted by Hope Community Resources, Inc, which serves and supports Alaskans who experience intellectual and developmental disabilities, traumatic brain injuries, and mental health challenges. The theme this year is 'May the 4th be with you', and there are three ways they list on their website that we can show our support:


1. Walk and Roll with us. Join us in walking and rolling through the streets of Anchorage, directly impacting lives with every step. Encourage friends and colleagues to join you or sponsor your participation.


2. Donate to the Walk. Even if you’re unable to join us in person, your generous donation can make a meaningful difference. Every dollar contributed enables Hope to provide essential resources and support programs for those in need.


3. Share on social media. Help us by sharing the event on your social media platforms. Additionally, if you have participated in past Walks for Hope, we’d love to hear about your experiences! Post pictures and memories on social media, tag Hope Community Resources, and use the hashtag #WalkForHope to spread the word and inspire others. 

On Sunday, May 5th the University will celebrate commencement, or what most people know as graduation! I hope to at least swing by to congratulate some of the new grads!


This commencement marks UAA's 70th anniversary!

And finally, on Sunday, May 5th is 'Family Lullaby Concert' being put on by Keys to Life


The Family Lullaby Concert is designed for the loved ones of incarcerated family members in which participants write a song to their incarcerated loved ones, with the support of musicians and one another. Participants write a letter to their loved one, then work with the musicians who are involved to put it to music, as a way for families to put words to the suffering that separation and incarceration can create, and hopefully, begin to heal.

Other News: Anchorage Mayoral Runoff Election

We shared this in the last newsletter, but it's good to have reminders of the importance of voting and making your voice heard!


The Anchorage Mayoral Runoff election will be held on Tuesday, May 14th. There will be two candidates on the runoff ballot: current Mayor Dave Bronson, and former Assemblywoman Suzanne LaFrance.


This is a vote by mail/vote from home election. All voters will be mailed a ballot package on April 30th to the mailing address of record in the State of Alaska Voter Registration Database.


Here are some good things to know to help you access your ballot for the May 14 election:



  • USPS does not forward ballot packages, so if you'll be at a different address temporarily, you'll need to request your ballot at that address. Here you can find the Application to vote at a temporary address.
  • You may also vote at an Anchorage Vote Center (AVC) if they will be in Anchorage between May 7th and Election Day, May 14th.  Information on Anchorage Vote Center locations and times can be found here.
  • Voters can also apply to vote by email or fax by calling (907) 243-VOTE (8683). Although the Municipal Clerk's Office recommends applying earlier, applications “to vote by email” or “to vote by fax” received in the Municipal Clerk’s Office by 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, May 7th will be processed. 
  • And all other general information about the election can be found here.


Happy Voting!

Serving you,

District 14 Community Council Schedule

You're always invited to your local neighborhood gathering!

Tudor

Spenard

Rogers Park

Midtown

May 2



7 p.m.


Fire Station Four

May 1



7 p.m.


Spenard Rec Center

May 13



7 p.m.


Rogers Park Elementary School Library

May 8



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

Facebook  Instagram  Twitter