February 21, 2020
Dear friends + neighbors,
With the budget subcommittee meetings behind us, we are hitting our stride with standing committee policy work. I am proud to offer an update on week five in Juneau! 
Special Committee on Tribal Affairs
HB 221, State Recognition of Tribes
On Tuesday we continued public testimony on HB 221, that I am proud to co-sponsor, by Representative Kopp, a bill that seeks to acknowledge Alaska’s federally-recognized tribes and the thousands of years of Alaska Native history in this place. As the granddaughter of an Alaska Territorial Guard member, who put his life and family on the line to protect our traditional homeland before statehood, this bill is an important opportunity to acknowledge Alaska’s unique cultural heritage.
One of the most profound moments of the Tribal Affairs Committee last year was when a freshman legislator, during our first-ever hearing, asked what opportunities exist to heal historic political divisions between the State and Tribes moving forward. The invited testifier responded that mutual respect is fostered simply through visibility and acknowledgment. I believe this bill does just that.
I was proud to vote “yes” and to move the bill out of the Tribal Affairs Committee. HB 221 now moves to the House Community & Regional Affairs Committee for consideration. 
REAL ID Implementation in Rural Alaska
On Thursday, in a joint session with House State Affairs Committee, we heard testimony from Alaska Native leaders and the Department of Administration on REAL ID implementation in rural Alaska. I join many colleagues in concern that, to date, the Department has not offered equitable or timely access to basic state DMV services to communities off the road system. I am hopeful, following a commitment made by the Commissioner of Administration during the hearing, that the Department will reconsider the process and funding barriers that have prevented timely and broad outreach to rural villages about REAL ID compliance options and services in advance of the October 1, 2020 compliance deadline.
Health and Social Services Committee
Statewide Suicide Prevention Council
Alaska has the highest rates of death by suicide in the nation, and it is our responsibility to adequately fund these prevention efforts. During this year's finance subcommittee process, I was proud to offer an amendment to restore $400,000 to fund statewide suicide prevention grants that were eliminated in the FY21 budget. On Tuesday, the Statewide Suicide Prevention Council and the grant administrator from the Department of Education presented to the committee on its important work.
The Suicide Awareness, Prevention and Postvention Grant Program (SAPP) provides training and support to students and staff for programs like Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS), Sources of Strength, You Are Not Alone (YANA), eLearning suicide prevention modules and much more. Recent examples of immediate intervention needs, supported by this program, include the Kaktovik school fire and the tragic plane crash in our home region that resulted in the deaths of a student and staff from a local school. SAPP funded support was provided to communities to help aid in healing from these horrible events.
If you or someone close to you needs someone to talk to about suicide, please call the CARELINE, a free and confidential hotline of Alaskans helping Alaskans. They treat callers with respect and listen without judgment. Careline Alaska is the Alaska partner of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline network and is also funded by state grants.
Careline can be reached at 1-877-266-HELP (-4357) and is open 24 hours.
Teen Council
I was thrilled to have the Teen Councils of Juneau and Anchorage visit my office and present during the Health & Social Services Committee this week. These student leaders were here to advocate for comprehensive, medically-accurate sex education for young people. Alaska has extremely high rates of sexually transmitted infections, teen pregnancy and sexual violence. I believe comprehensive, age-appropriate health education and access to reproductive health services is critical to addressing Alaska's staggering failures in this area.
Education Committee
This week we heard HB 181, a bill by Representative Claman, that would strengthen mental health education in schools.
A high school student from West Anchorage emphasized the importance of having a strong mental health curriculum saying, “I didn’t have knowledge about depression or what mental health conditions looked like and neither did my family. Despite meeting every state health curriculum guideline, none of us had ever had formal health education on what early warning signs of mental illness were. Mental health education absolutely works."
Students from across the state spoke passionately about providing health education tools that can help keep them healthy and strong.
Tlingit + Haida Native Issues Forum
On Monday I had the opportunity to give remarks and honor the life of Elizabeth Kaaxgal Peratrovich during the Native Issues Forum hosted by the Central Council of Tlingit and Haida Tribes of Alaska. I was asked to talk about what it’s like to serve in elected office and how Alaskans can get involved.
In our legislative work, we must remember the difference between equality and equity - equality is treating everyone the same and equity is giving someone what they need to be successful. In a state with an uneven distribution of access to state resources, not all communities and regions start at the same starting line. As I said during the forum, when Alaska Native people get involved, our values are represented as leaders chart Alaska’s future. Alaskans don’t need to be elected to office to make change, individuals can knock on doors, make phone calls, call Legislators, serve on boards, committees or commissions for causes they care about.
We should all find a way to get involved, Alaska needs you
Elizabeth Peratrovich $1 Coins are here!
Theme is the 2020 Native American $1 Coin design is Elizabeth Peratrovich and Alaska's Anti-Discrimination Law. The coins are now in circulation, and you can visit the U.S. Mint Website to learn more.
Friends + Constituents in the office
Bethel 4-H Club
I was delighted to sit down with Rosie Chakuchin and Michelle Chris from the Bethel 4-H club this week. Bethel’s after school program offers youth, in grades K-6, programs on crafting, baking and gardening. This local program serves around 50 youth during the school year. This was an especially sweet visit for me because I got to share with these young leaders that my first visit to Alaska’s State Capitol was as a high school student with Bethel’s 4-H club as well! 
Alaska Coalition on Housing & Homelessness
Jon Cochrane stopped by to share some updates on the good work of the Housing and Homelessness Coalition in Bethel. February 20 is the statewide Housing Advocacy Day, and I am grateful to Jon and his colleagues for everything that they do to offer housing support for Alaskans in need.
We will be hearing more from the Coalition next week in the Health & Social Services Committee.
Native Village of Kwinhagak
Matthew Friendly and Darren Cleveland with the Native Village of Kwinhagak stopped by to discuss maintenance and safety needs of their local airport with myself, staff and the Department of Transportation. We will continue to work with the tribe to ensure the community's life and health transportation needs are met. 
City of Bethel
Senator Hoffman and I sat down with city council member Fred Watson and Mayor Perry Barr and to talk about Bethel's capital project priorities for the coming year. It was great to see familiar and friendly faces! 
Help Me Grow Alaska (All Alaska Pediatric Partnership)
Babies don’t come with manuals, but the All Alaska Pediatric Partnership’s Help Me Grow Alaska program provides a variety of resources for parents and families with young children. Help Me Grow Alaska promotes healthy child development by providing support and information to individuals and organizations who care for children and young adults. Help Me Grow Alaska connects families and caregivers to services and organizing the path forward for support. Some of the resources available include the Strengthening Families Toolkit through the Child Welfare Academy, postpartum and breastfeeding support, developmental screening, child care resources, and much more.
Contact at Care Coordinator at 1-833-HMG-ALASKA
Infographic courtesy of YKHC
Census 2020!
Language Resources for 2020 Census
Along with voting, the Census is one of our most important civic duties as Americans and Alaskans. Accurate Census data determines voting districts, as well as the amount of federal money made available to our communities for health, housing, transportation and several other services. Be counted! 
Alaska Counts has translated Census materials into various Alaska Native languages. Yup’ik language guides and PSAs are available below. You can also access all of the language resources here.
Two Yup’ik PSAs, here and here
Indian Country Counts
Applications for the second round of Census 2020 Community Grants is now open! Indian Country Counts is National Congress of American Indians' initiative to encourage all American Indians and Alaska Natives (AI/AN) to complete the 2020 Census. A second wave of community grants for community events and efforts in support of the 2020 Census are now available from Indian Country Counts. 
More information can be found on the National Congress of American Indians website HERE.
Visit Us in Juneau!
If you will be in Juneau, please come visit me at the Capitol! Contact my office to schedule a time to stop in tosay hello. Also, if you are visiting on a day we have floor session, I would be thrilled to introduce you on the House Floor!
Legislative Citations
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
Julia Buschmann
Education Committee Staff
Logan Basner
Tribal Affairs
Committee Aide
´╗┐Angela Jenkins
Energy Committee Staff