March 8, 2024


Dear Friends, Neighbors, and Fellow Fairbanksans,

 

Welcome to the 58th edition of the Carrick Capitol Connection! Springtime in Fairbanks is my favorite time of year, and I really appreciated the warm welcome home and chance to meet with folks last weekend. Thank you to the many Fairbanksans who attended one or all of my community events! If you were unable to attend those events, I will be back home in April to host more community coffee hours and chances to catch up, and you are also always welcome to reach out to my office and set up a time to chat over the phone while I am here in Juneau.

 

Today is day 60 of the second regular session of the 33rd Alaska State Legislature, which is the halfway point of the constitutional 121-day regular session. This week has been another busy one in the Capitol as we continue work on the operating budget, 390 House bills, 50 House resolutions, 260 Senate bills, and 45 Senate resolutions that have been introduced by the 33rd Legislature.

 

This week I will share news about the Governor’s veto of the omnibus education bill that occurred last night and provide an update on my bill to extend the Technical and Vocational Education Program allocations that was heard in the House Education Committee this week. Also included in this week’s newsletter is an overview of Governor Dunleavy’s 12 Executive Orders to dismantle or transfer duties for several boards and councils, and the outcomes for these proposals that occurred in joint session earlier this week. Please read on for more details and some additional community events coming up soon. 

Thank you to all the folks who came out to Rep Carricks community events including FNSB Assemblymember Scott Crass and his children


Governor Vetoes Omnibus Education Bill

The Legislature transmitted SB 140, the omnibus education bill to the Governor on February 26. Per the Alaska Constitution, the Governor has 15 days, excluding Sundays, to take action on bills passed by the legislature. Thursday, March 14 was the date by which the Governor was required to act on SB 140. Late in the evening yesterday, on the last day to take action, the Governor vetoed SB 140. In his veto message, the Governor offered two main reasons for the veto: First, that this bill does not include his unvetted teacher bonus program. Second, it does not include his unvetted charter school expansion that would lead to state centralization of charter schools and could lead to state funds going to religious charter schools as well as open the door for school vouchers. These items were not included in the version of SB 140 that passed the legislature because they are controversial and were not supported by a majority of legislators during extended discussions and effort to reach compromise on the bill.

 

The Alaska Constitution requires that the legislature meet in joint session within five days of a veto and consider a veto override. Currently, a joint session is scheduled for Monday. Along with my colleagues in the House Minority Coalition, I strongly support overriding the veto of SB 140. It will take 40 members of the legislature voting in favor of an override to get an override for this bill. If that occurs, SB 140 will become law. Since the bill passed the legislature nearly unanimously with a combined vote of 56-3 just a couple of weeks ago, I have hope that my colleagues on all sides of the issue will come together to uphold their votes and defend this critical education funding. I sincerely hope that the members of the legislature that voted for SB 140 stand by their votes and vote to override this veto, though there is a question about whether this will occur since many legislators that voted for one-time funding last session sis not uphold those votes when we went into joint session back in January.

 

With the joint session scheduled for Monday, I would highly encourage you to reach out to members of the legislature and encourage them to override the Governors Veto of SB 140. You can reach out to members individually, or you can send a Public Opinion Message which sends your message to every legislator. This funding is critical to our school district, which cannot raise its own revenue, right now and it is paramount that folks act right away if you want to see this funding for many facets of our education system take effect and help keep schools open and funded across our district and the state.

 

As a reminder, SB 140 included several important policy wins for education including the largest increase to the Base Student Allocation – our education funding formula – in state history. You can read my full recap of what is included in SB 140 in a recent Carrick Capitol Connection.

Rep Carrick speaking to constituents at her Carrick Community Coffee last Sunday


Joint Session on Governor Dunleavy’s Executive Orders

On Tuesday, the Legislature met in Joint Session to consider overriding the Governor’s 12 executive orders (EO’s) and the Legislature ultimately voted to overturn eight of these executive orders. These EO’s originated from the Governors constitutional authority in Article 3 Section 23 that allows the Governor to make reorganizations of components of the executive branch that he “considers necessary for efficient administration.”

 

Thank you to the hundreds of Alaskans who reached out to my office sharing your stories and voicing your concerns about many of these executive orders. I voted to disapprove all but two of the executive orders. While the Governor acted within his constitutional authority to make revisions to his administration to make it more efficient, I believe that many of the big decisions that these executive orders were attempting to make are best resolved through legislation and the legislative process. I look forward to continuing the important and necessary conversation about government efficiency and to continuing to take action to make our state government as efficient and representative of the people as possible.

 

To override these executive orders, the legislature is required to pass resolutions disapproving the EO’s in Joint Session with by a simple majority vote (31 votes). Here is the list of executive orders that the legislature considered and a summary of those that were accepted and rejected. Please note that a yes vote is a vote to reject an executive order and a no vote is one to sustain an executive order.

 

Executive Order No. 124 – REJECTED

This EO would have transferred authority from the Board of Game to the Commissioner of the Department of Fish and Game for the authority to prohibit the live capture, possession, transport, or release of native or exotic game or their eggs. I voted to reject this EO, and it was rejected with a vote of 36-23.

 

Executive Order No. 125 – SUSTAINED

This EO will take effect on July 1, 2024 and will eliminate the Alaska Council on Emergency Medical Services and transfer the duties and functions of the council to the Department of Health. I joined all my colleagues and voted to sustain this EO unanimously with a vote of 59-0. The services provided by the Council were duplicative to other areas of statute and the Board had struggled to make quorum and find members for a number of years, leading to unanimous support for the EO.

 

Executive Order No. 126 – REJECTED

This EO would have eliminated the Wood-Tikchik State Park Management Council and transferred its duties and functions to the Department of Natural Resources. I voted to reject this EO, and it was rejected with a vote of 38-21.

 

Executive Order No. 127 – REJECTED

This EO would have eliminated the Board of Massage Therapists and transfer its duties and functions relating to the licensure, professional standards, and administration of massage therapy to the Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development (DCCED). The Board of Massage Therapists is made up of dedicated professionals who volunteer their expertise as Massage Therapists to help the board carry out its duties and functions relating to licensure, professional standards, and administration of the industry.

 

Without boards like these, the Professional Licensing Division within DCCED would be inundated with a much greater volume of issues pertaining to licensing, professional standards, and administration, on top of the ways that they are already burdened. That would result in them needing to hire many more employees which would cost the state money, rather than save money. I voted to reject this EO, and it was rejected with a vote of 43-16.

 

Executive Order No. 128 – REJECTED

This EO would have separated the membership of the board of directors of the Alaska Energy Authority from the membership of the board of directors of the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority. In many respects this was the most concerning of the Executive Orders, as this was the only one which does not fall within the Governor’s constitutional powers. A split of these Boards must occur through legislation, and those who voted against rejecting this EO were also voting to violate the Constitution.

 

While I would consider supporting the separation of these Boards through the legislative process, I could not support this unconstitutional executive order from the Governor. I voted to reject this EO, and it was rejected with a vote of 36-23.

Rep Carrick, Rep Dibert, and Sen Kawasaki listening to constituents at their townhall last Saturday


Executive Order No. 129 – REJECTED

This EO would have eliminated the Board of Barbers and Hairdressers and transferred its duties and functions relating to the licensure, professional standards, and administration of barbers and hairdressers to DCCED. I have similar concerns with this EO as I did with EO 127 (Massage Therapists) in that the Professional Licensing Division within DCCED does not have the capacity, without a significant increase to staffing levels, to take on the duties of the Board of Barbers and Hairdressers. Additionally, it is important to note that the jurisdiction of the Board of Barbers and Hairdressers is greater than just Barbers and Hairdressers, with tattoo artists also included within the purview of the board. I would like to thank my friend, constituent, and local tattoo shop owner Kevin McKinley for his previous service to this board and sharing his knowledge about the board and the industry with my office to help us build a case against this executive order. I voted to reject this EO, and it was rejected with a vote of 34-25.

 

Executive Order No. 130 – REJECTED

This EO would have eliminated the Board of Certified Direct-Entry Midwives and transferred its duties and functions relating to the certification and regulation of the practice of midwifery to DCCED. Hands down, this EO faced the fiercest public opposition. My office received hundreds of emails from Alaskans voicing their opposition to this EO and a petition was delivered to legislators that was signed by over 1200 Alaskans who opposed this EO.

 

Alaskan Women deserve to give birth in the way they choose, and midwifery is a popular way for Alaskan Women to give birth. It is important to make sure midwives have the experience and training they need to safely practice their profession, and appropriate oversight from a state Board. Much like with the Boards of Massage Therapists, and Barbers and Hairdressers, elimination of the Board of Midwives would have inundated the Professional Licensing Division of DCCED that does not have the capacity to undertake this increased workload without a significant increase to staffing. I voted to reject this EO, and it was rejected by a vote of 58-1.  

 

Executive Order No. 131 – REJECTED

This EO would have reorganized the membership of the Alaska Marine Highway Operations Board (AMHOB) giving the Governor the sole authority to appoint its membership. The AMHOB was created by HB 63 from my House Minority Coalition Colleague and former Speaker of the House, Representative Louise Stutes (R – Kodiak). Among other responsibilities, the AMHOB is tasked with creating a long-term plan for the Alaska Marine Highway. Its membership is currently appointed by the Speaker of the House, President of the Senate, and Governor and thus ensures a great diversity of opinions among the members of the Board. With the disapproval of this EO, this appointment process remains in effect. The Governor has a mixed record when it comes to supporting the marine highway, and giving him the sole power to appoint the membership of the AMHOB would be concerning for the future of the marine highway and its many stakeholders across our state and particularly in Southeast Alaska. I voted to reject this EO, and it was rejected by a vote of 33-26. 

 

Executive Order No. 132 – REJECTED

This EO would have eliminated the Alaska Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve Advisory Council and the transfer of its functions relating to the development and monitoring of the management plan for the Alaska Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve to the Department of Natural Resources. I voted to reject this EO, and it was rejected by a vote of 43-16.

 

Executive Order No. 133 – SUSTAINED

This EO will become effective on July 1, 2024 and will eliminate the Criminal Justice Information Advisory Board and the transfer its duties to the Department of Public Safety. Along with all my colleagues, I voted to sustain this EO in a vote of 0-59. This Board, as with the EO on Emergency medical Services, has become duplicative with other services, and struggles to find and maintain appointees.

 

Executive Order No. 134 – SUSTAINED

This EO will become effective on July 1, 2024 and will eliminate the Recreation Rivers Advisory Board (RRAB) and the transfer of its functions to the Department of Natural Resources. I voted to reject this EO but unfortunately it was narrowly sustained by a vote of 29-30. I believe, based on the comments made during joint session, that the elimination of this Board overseeing Mat-Su recreational rivers, is being undertaken to remove pressure against large-scale energy projects as well as proposed industrial mining projects. While there are local proponents of the EO, the underlying reasons for support are a potential cause for concern, and I was disappointed to see this EO be sustained.

 

Executive Order No. 135 – SUSTAINED

This EO will become effective on July 1, 2024 and will eliminate the Alaska Safety Advisory Council and transfer its duties to the Department of Labor and Workforce Development. I voted to reject this EO but it was narrowly sustained by a vote of 30-29 (31 votes are necessary to reject an EO). 

Rep Carrick was visited by constituents earlier this week spending their spring break in the Capitol


Don’t Forget to File for Your PFD!

The deadline to file for the Permanent Fund Dividend is fast approaching! The 2024 PFD online application will be available on the PFD website through 11:59pm Sunday, March 31, 2024. Paper applications will be available at PFD offices and at hundreds of distribution sites throughout the state. Please note that Alaskans who file their PFD applications online and opt for direct deposit will receive their Dividends first, and Alaskans who use a paper application or request a mailed check will receive their dividends in the second batch of payments.

 

When you file online, you will receive a confirmation number after submitting the application. Use your myAlaska username to file online. It displays more application details and provides the options to electronically sign, update an address, and receive payments via direct deposit. It also provides access to your 1099 tax document. Missing or incomplete answers will result in an application review. Payments for eligible online applications that have a direct deposit payment method will be disbursed at the beginning of October. Eligible online applications that choose a check payment method will have payments disbursed at the end of October.

 

The PFD means different things to different people. For some Alaskans, the dividend is a vital part of their yearly income and is used to put food on the table or purchase heating fuel, while for other Alaskans it has a much smaller impact on their yearly income. Alaskans who are able to donate a portion, or all of their dividend to local charities of their choice can do so with Pick.Click.Give. You can find the list of organizations that can accept Pick.Click.Give donations online. While the PFD application deadline is on March 31, you can add or adjust your Pick.Click.Give donations until August 31.  

 

Public Comment Opportunities and

Upcoming Events in Our Community

WEIO Dena Games

The Dena Games, sponsored by WEIO, are open to everyone regardless of ethnicity, and all events are free to participants and observers. These are some of the traditional games played by the Indigenous Dena (Athabascan) people of Interior Alaska, Canada, and the Northern Lower 48 states. The games will be held at the Morris Thompson Cultural & Visitors Center at 101 Dunkel Street and at the Jeff Studdert Race Grounds (Mushers Hall) at 935 Farmers Loop Road. There will be a snow snake event, hand games, Dena stick pull competition, a pop scramble, and a snowshoe race. Be sure to dress for the weather. For a schedule and more information, please visit the WEIO website.

 

Open North American Championships

The Alaska Dog Mushers Association will host the 78th Open North American Championships sprint sled dog race at the Jeff Studdert Race Grounds (Mushers Hall). Dozens of teams from around the world will convene in Fairbanks for the three-day race, which will start on Friday, March 15, 2024, at 1:00 pm and run through Sunday, March 17. The Open North American Championships is the longest continuously run sled dog race in the world. Dress warmly and bring the family out for some late winter fun!

 

Tanana River Challenge

The Tanana River Challenge (TRC) is an endurance race, which includes runners, skiers, skijorers, and bikers. This is a reincarnation of the Equinox Ultra-Ski 100k Challenge, which went from Nenana to Fairbanks and was run for many years by Audun and Sally Endestad of Fairbanks. It has been updated to include more modes of travel, multiple aid stations run by volunteers, and new course routes. A part of the Endurance North family of races, the racecourse loops around the Tanana River and Rosie Creek forest. Participants can choose between 25 and 45-mile distances. The race will be held Saturday, March 16, 2024, with race start times of 8am, 9am and 10am. Please visit here to register.

 

Alaska Behavioral Health Roadmap Public Comment

The deadline for public comment on the Behavioral Health Roadmap for Youth Report is March 17, 2024. Please submit your comments regarding the five Regional Meeting Overviews and 47 Action Items using the Behavioral Health Roadmap Public Comment Form. You can download and review the report. Comments can be from anyone, not just on behalf of an organization. Continued involvement in this process plays a significant role in molding the lives of young Alaskans. For assistance, please contact their support team.

 

My Staff and I Are Here for You!

As always, feel free to reach out to my office any time by calling 907-452-6084, emailing Rep.Ashley.Carrick@akleg.gov, or by following me @RepCarrick on social media. If you know of anyone who would like to sign up for an emailed edition of the Carrick Capitol Connection, please pass along this link to sign up online, or email me to be added to the list. Again, your comments are always appreciated. Please let us know if there are any specific topics in which you may be interested!


Best wishes,

Representative Ashley Carrick

Proudly Serving House District 35 -- West Fairbanks


Rep.Ashley.Carrick@akleg.gov

907-452-6084


1292 Sadler Way, Ste 324, Fairbanks, AK 99701

*Global Credit Union building (formerly Alaska USA Credit Union), across from Home Depot, Walmart, and Fred Meyer east.

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Contact my Staff

Stuart Relay

Chief of Staff


stuart.relay@akleg.gov

907-452-6084

Cherie Bowman

Legislative Aide


cherie.bowman@akleg.gov

907-452-6084


Contact the Fairbanks Legislative Information Office


1292 Sadler Way Ste 308

Fairbanks, AK 99701


Office: 907-452-4448

Fax: 907-456-3346


LIO.Fairbanks@akleg.gov


Contact the Governor's Fairbanks Office


675 7th Ave, Ste. H5

Fairbanks, AK 99701-4596


907-451-2920


gov.alaska.gov


Contact your Congressional Delegation

Congresswoman Mary Peltola

Anchorage Office:

121 W Fireweed Ln, Ste. 260

Anchorage, AK 99503


Phone: 907-921-6575


Email


Website:

Peltola.House.Gov

Senator Lisa Murkowski

Fairbanks Office:

250 Cushman Ave, Suite 2D

Fairbanks, AK 99701


Phone: (907) 456-0233

Fax: (877) 857-0322


Email


Website: Murkowski.Senate.Gov

Senator Dan Sullivan

Fairbanks Office:

101 12th Ave., Ste. 328

Fairbanks, AK 99701


Phone: (907) 456-0261

Fax: (907) 451-7290


Email


Website: Sullivan.Senate.Gov