May 3, 2024


Dear Friends, Neighbors, and Fellow Fairbanksans,

 

Welcome to the 65th edition of the Carrick Capitol Connection! It has been another beautiful week in Juneau, with sun almost every day. With the cruise ships starting to arrive, the summer tourism season has officially begun, and I am feeling ready to come back to Fairbanks soon!

 

The Senate has passed its version of the operating budget and now the budget is nearing its final stages in the legislative process. This means that things in Juneau will begin to go into overdrive with long floor sessions, late nights, and bills moving very quickly. This is the final countdown for bills since next year is the beginning of a new Legislature. All bills that do not pass by the end of the regular session on May 15 will have to start all over again next year and be re-introduced from scratch.

 

This week’s edition of the Carrick Capitol Connection will discuss the Senates version of the operating budget and the major differences between this document and the budget that the House passed, my third Fairbanks Fireside Chat recounting the major events that have taken place this session, what you can expect as we manage the end of session, and events going on in our community. Continue reading for more information!  


Fairbanks Fireside Chat: Third Edition

My third Fairbanks Fireside Chat is now live and is a great opportunity to learn more about what has been going on this session. This Fireside Chat focuses on education funding and reform, HB 17 which is my bill to require insurance coverage of a 12-month supply of contraceptives, the state of the budget (prior to its passage out of the Senate), and what to expect in the final days of session as well as information on how you can stay in touch with my office.

 

You can watch this latest Fairbanks Fireside Chat on my YouTube page. While over there, go ahead and subscribe to my YouTube channel for more content, and to see archived content from my office. Stay tuned for future Fireside Chats!

You can watch Rep Carrick's latest Fairbanks Fireside Chat by clicking the photo above


Operating Budget Passes Senate and Things Speed Up in Juneau

On Wednesday, the Senate passed its version of the operating budget back to the House the budget is now in its final stages of being deliberated by the Conference Committee. The Conference Committee is one of the final steps in the budget process before it gets sent to the Governor. The Conference Committee is made up of three Representatives and three Senators who will hammer out the differences between the two budgets and produce the final version of the budget.

 

The biggest difference between the two budgets is the size of the Permanent Fund Dividend. The PFD that was included in the budget that passed the House was $2,270 per Alaskan, and the PFD that was passed by the Senate was $1,580 per Alaskan with a roughly $222 energy relief payment per Alaskan. Importantly, the version of the budget that passed the Senate was a balanced budget and did not require withdrawing money from the Constitutional Budget Reserve to achieve a balance.

 

Another important difference between the House and Senate version of the Operating Budget was the inclusion of funding for the University to achieve R1 Research Status. The House Budget included the necessary $20 million to achieve this status, but unfortunately that was removed from the Senates version of the Budget. During debate on the operating budget in the House, I spoke out against an amendment to remove funding for R1 and am disappointed to see that funding be removed from the Senate’s Operating Budget. Luckily this is what is called a conferenceable item, meaning it is one of the differences between the two budgets that will be debated in the conference committee. I hope to see members on the committee put the pressure on to argue in favor of this critical funding.

 

Luckily, both versions of the budget include a one-time funding boost for our school districts. To recap, the version of the budget that passed the House included a one-time $680 per-student increase to the Base Student Allocation, our education funding formula. The Senate’s budget included this increase as well, meaning that this budget item will not be debated in the conference committee and will remain in the budget through the rest of the legislative process. I am also cautiously optimistic that this one-time increase will be enacted in this year’s budget. In a press conference yesterday, the Governor signaled that he would not veto this one time increase again this year. We will have to wait and see if that is true, but for the time being I am hopeful that our school districts will get much needed one time funding this year. Even though this one-time education funding is a band-aid solution for our cash strapped school districts for the upcoming school year, it is something that can help address the budgetary shortfall where it ought to be addressed first and foremost- At the state level. While I am pleased that there is interest in one-time funding, I would much rather see a permanent increase to the BSA and that remains one of my highest priorities.

 

In these last 12 days of the regular session, and with the operating budget in conference committee, things will begin moving very quickly. Stay tuned for more updates and feel free to reach out to my office if you have any questions or comments about either the budget or any pending legislation. 

Rep Carrick and her staff Stuart presenting a bill in front of the House Finance Committee. Rep Carrick spent many hundreds of hours in the Finance Committee as a Finance Aide for former Rep Adam Wool. This was her first bill hearing in front of House Finance since getting elected


Events Happening in Our Community

Calypso Farm Sheep & Wool Day

Calypso Farm and Ecology Center will be hosting their annual Sheep & Wool Day on May 4 from 1pm to 4pm. At the farm you will meet their flock of Shetland sheep and learn all about raising sheep in Alaska, handling and washing fleeces, and using wool to make functional items. Sheep shearing and fleece skirting demos, spinning and weaving demos, and kid-friendly wool crafts will be provided, and Calypso Wool products will be available for sale. This free, family-friendly event is rain or shine so don’t forget your mud boots!

 

Commuter Coffee Hour

Are you interested in bike commuting to work? Come out and talk with local bike commuters at Lulu’s Bread and Bagels on May 8 from 7:30am to 8:30am and learn what you need to ride a bike in the many different weather conditions in Fairbanks. There will be information about bike-friendly businesses who host bike tool kits for cyclists who experience mechanical problems. A limited number of print copies of the Bikeways map will also be available with instructions on how to digitally access it. The Fairbanks Cycle Club will also provide information on their organization and group rides to join. Happy Biking!

 

UAF Museum of the North Junior Curators

Join staff at the UAF Museum of the North for their Junior Curators event on May 4 from 2pm to 4pm. Create a model butterfly collection and learn to identify butterflies! Explore signs of spring in the boreal forest, see and touch museum objects, and try a scavenger hunt in the galleries. This event is for children 6 and older accompanied by an adult. Siblings are welcome! Drop in any time. Cost is included with museum ticket purchase. For more information, please visit their website.

 

Fairbanks Adult Amateur Baseball League Tryouts

Step up to the plate this season with the Fairbanks Adult Amateur Baseball League (FAABL). All enthusiastic players are invited to the 2024 tryouts on Sunday, May 5th, at 2 PM at West Valley Field. This is a great opportunity to take center stage and showcase your baseball skills in a competitive yet supportive environment.

 

Open to all who wish to play baseball at a competitive level, these tryouts are a chance to prove that you have what it takes. The league promotes a family-friendly atmosphere and encourages community engagement, making each season a celebration of local love for baseball. Registration is now open, and spots are filling up quickly. Visit their website for more information and to fill out the registration form and sign up, or you can call (907)347-2970. Bring your A-game and prepare to impress!

 

Permafrost Discovery Gateway

Thawing permafrost destabilizes infrastructure and economies and disrupts traditional ways of living. The Permafrost Discovery Gateway (PDG) is an online resource that provides researchers, planners, policymakers, educators, and the public with timely monitoring of permafrost thaw and its implications. The PDG hopes to educate, inspire, and equip people to develop and implement solutions that address the impacts of permafrost thaw.

 

Join researchers to learn more about the Permafrost Discovery Gateway (PDG) at the UAF Museum of the North on May 8 from 6pm to 8:30pm. This 30-minute science talk + Q&A will discuss how big geospatial data and AI can help us better monitor permafrost thaw across the Arctic and help communities in their assessment and planning of permafrost hazards. After the talk, take a virtual tour of the CRREL Permafrost Tunnel through VR headsets and connect with the PDG team members.

 

31st Annual Water Walk & Run 5K

Golden Heart Utilities is again sponsoring the Water Walk & Run 5K race on May 8 at 6pm starting at the Aurora Energy LLC plant downtown. Festivities begin at 5:30pm with lots of fun games for the kids, hot dogs, and snacks. To register, please visit here.

Rep Carrick and her staff Stuart (center) and Cherie (right) with their matching Alaska State Legislature vests


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!

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