February 11, 2022
Dear friends + neighbors,

Greetings from Juneau! I hope you are well and have remained warm during this recent stretch of cold weather in our region.

The Legislature is back for the 2nd regular session of the 32nd Alaska State Legislature. We have been making great progress on legislation, committee work, and budget conversations.

I'm grateful for the opportunity to offer you an update on our work here in the Capital City. Please reach out to my office if you'd like to set-up remote or in-person meetings, or to get any updates on the happenings in the building.

Have a wonderful weekend,
HB 123: State Recognition of Tribes

Yesterday I was proud to present HB123, a bill that would recognize Alaska’s 229 Tribes for the first time in Alaska statute, in the Senate State Affairs committee. I would like to thank Julie Kitka (AFN), Natasha Singh (Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium), and Joy Anderson (Association of Village Council Presidents) for offering invited testimony and support for the bill. In many communities, Tribes are the most local form of government, and the State of Alaska partners with them to help keep Alaskans healthy and safe. There have been a lot of exciting conversations about how we can expand the State’s relationships with Tribes, but I believe that recognizing Alaska’s 229 federally recognized Tribes is an important first step. I hope this important bill continues progress next week.
HB 198: Community Health Aide Appreciation Day

On Wednesday February 9, HB 198, a bill that would establish September 10 as Alaska Community Health Aide Appreciation Day, passed the House unanimously. Thanks to all my colleagues for coming together to support these frontline health care heroes, who are the backbone of the healthcare system in rural Alaska and who have worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic to keep their communities healthy. The bill advances to the Senate for consideration.
Other Bill Status Updates

HB 38, an act related to addressing Missing and Murdered Indigious Women and Girls, is awaiting next steps in the House Special Committee on Tribal Affairs

HB 147, an act related to the teacher education loan program for rural educators, is awaiting next steps in the House Education Committee.

HB 184, an act related to the Tribal Child Welfare Compact, is awaiting a hearing in the Senate Health and Social Services Committee.

HB 313, an act related to Village Public Safety Officer Grants, was introduced today and has been referred to the House Special Committee on Tribal Affairs.

*SMS Bill Tracking!* Text a bill number (ex: HB1) to 559-245-2529 to enroll in text alerts. You will receive an enrollment confirmation and instructions on how to stop receiving the alerts.
ADN Op-Ed: Educational reforms should not leave Alaska students behind.

Alongside my Bush Caucus colleagues and some prominent Native leaders, I wrote an op-ed about an omnibus bill the Legislature is considering—the Alaska Reads Act. The purported goals of the bill are laudable—to improve reading skills, expand early learning, and create a framework for virtual learning.

Although I am thankful for the conversation this bill started about how we can work together to set Alaska's children up for success, I am deeply troubled by the approach of making high-stakes decisions about student progress based on performance through standardized proficiency measures — which have historically and systemically lacked cultural relevance — disproportionately impacting students of cultural and linguistic diversity. Furthermore, the proposed reforms fail to take into consideration the baseline of unequal educational resources across Alaska, such as teacher recruitment, that can contribute to (or be the entire cause of) the achievement gaps we see.

Good education policy should not be rushed, no matter the circumstances. I look forward to continue working with my colleagues on these educational reforms, to ensure that they do not have the potential to unintentionally harm Alaska Native children, students living in rural parts of the state, and English language learners. We can get this right, our kids are worth it.
Meet My Staff

I am grateful to have a strong team of staff again this year. Logan, Katy and Averie are standing by to serve you as well. Please find all of their contact information at the bottom on this newsletter.
Logan Sloan Basner has been on my staff since 2019. He serves as my Chief of Staff and as committee aide to the House Special Committee on Tribal Affairs. Logan has a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting from the University of Minnesota and a Masters in Public Administration from the University of Alaska Anchorage.

In his free time Logan loves playing soccer, traveling, binge-watching television shows on Netflix, and going on adventures in the great outdoors.
Katy Giorgio has been on my staff since 2019. She is our unofficial office manager and works as my committee aide on Health and Social Services committee. Katy holds a Bachelor's degree from Rice University and a Masters of Public Administration from University of Alaska Southeast. She previously worked for the Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation.

Outside of work, Katy enjoys playing trombone and hitting the trails with her border collie, Butters.
Averie Wells was born and raised in Anchorage. She is Tsimshian, Yup’ik, and Iñupiaq and has ties throughout the state. She is a junior attending UAA, obtaining her undergraduate degree in Political Science. Last year Averie worked as a fellow with the Alaska Native Policy Center at First Alaskans Institute. She came to our office this session under the First Alaskans Public Policy Fellowship program, but is now a legislative aide, focusing on education. 

When she isn’t in the office, Averie enjoys watching documentaries and exploring what Juneau’s cuisine has to offer. 

I would love to hear from you if you have a suggestion for a legislative citation of importance to District 38!

What is a citation? It is an official document expressing commendation, condolences, appreciation or congratulations to an individual or group.

There are two types of citations:

"Honorarium" recognizes a person, organization, or special occasion.

"In Memorium" honors someone who has recently passed away.

Please feel free to call or e-mail my office if you have any questions.
Katy Giorgio
Health & Social Services
Committee Aide
907-465-5141
Logan Basner
Tribal Affairs
Committee Aide
907-465-6576
Averie Wells
Scheduling & Education Committee Support
907-465-4942