May 10, 2024


Dear Friends, Neighbors, and Fellow Fairbanksans,

 

Welcome to the 66th edition of the Carrick Capitol Connection! These last days before the May 15 deadline for the end of the regular legislative session are always incredibly fast paced, with bills and resolutions flying around the building at the speed of light. We are at the end of a second regular session, which means bills that do not pass before May 15 at midnight, will have to start all over again next year when a new legislature convenes following the fall elections. Leading up to this conclusion, there have been a lot of long floor sessions with many different bills up for consideration. Key items that still need to be addressed before the session concludes include education, energy and passing a balanced budget. There are also numerous major policy bills that are moving quickly through the process. I am excited to report that I passed one bill out of the House this week, and another out of the Senate. Continue reading for more information about bills on the move, appreciation week for teachers, nurses and public employees, and some of the spring events going on in our community.

 

Briefly, I would like to take a moment to thank the folks that worked on either side of the Proposition A debate and everyone who voted in the Special Municipal Election on Tuesday. Proposition A would have increased the Boroughs tax cap by $10 million to help fund the Fairbanks North Star Borough School District, and the outcome was clear that Prop A did not pass. The failure of this proposition underscores the importance of the Alaska Legislature passing a permanent increase to the Base Student Allocation (BSA), our education funding formula to provide stable and predictable funding at the state level as opposed to pushing off our responsibilities to local taxpayers. Meaningfully and permanently increasing the BSA remains one of my highest priorities. In the meantime, I am confident that the one time BSA increase of $680 per student will pass the legislature in the operating budget, and I am cautiously optimistic that it will be enacted into law. Education remains an outstanding issue that needs to be addressed before the legislature adjourns on May 15, so stay tuned for more information!

Rep Carrick speaking at a Missing and Murdered Indigenous Persons (MMIP) gathering on the steps of the Capitol last Sunday. You can listen to Rep Carrick's remarks on her YouTube page


Bills on the MOVE!

I am excited to report that this week I have passed two bills. On Tuesday I passed HB 55 out of the House, and yesterday HB 17 was passed out of the Senate. Additionally, I would like to highlight HB 119 which passed the House today.

 

HB 119 is an omnibus marijuana industry reform bill that I worked on extensively in the House Labor and Commerce Committee. As one of the majority of Alaskans who voted for Marijuana legalization back in 2014, I have long been a supporter of the marijuana industry. Despite its legalization 10 years ago the marijuana industry is enduring some ‘growing’ pains. This bill comes as at the request of the Governor’s Taskforce on Recreational Marijuana and includes needed tax reform, and policy reforms. This bill reduces the taxation on cultivators who have borne the brunt of marijuana taxation since legalization and it establishes a 7% sales tax on all marijuana sales. Last summer I toured several marijuana facilities in Fairbanks to learn more about the issues plaguing the industry. Following those tours and further conversations with industry experts, I worked with the Labor and Commerce Committee to include necessary policy changes to the marijuana industry in HB 119. Those changes include biannual licenses for marijuana facilities, quarterly payments for marijuana taxes, and allowing marijuana stores to sell unused products back to the manufacturer to be resold. There were other changes that I would have liked to see in that bill, but overall this is a good and necessary bill that supports this growing industry. I hope HB 119 will pass the Senate before the end of session on May 15.

 

 

HB 17 passed the Senate yesterday on a strong bipartisan vote of 16-3. This is my bill that requires insurance coverage of a 12-month supply of contraceptives aligning state law with existing federal mandates. Today the House voted to concur to the changes made in the Senate, and now HB 17 heads to the Governors desk for his consideration. This bill has been 10 years in the making and I look forward to working with my colleagues to go through the remaining steps to hopefully see this bill enacted into law. I would like to thank Senator Löki Tobin for sponsoring the Senate companion bill (SB27) and carrying HB 17 on the Senate floor yesterday. I would also like to thank former-Senator Berta Gardener and Senator Matt Claman for their years of work on this important issue. While there are still a few remaining steps ahead for HB 17, there is a strong possibility this bill could become law this year.

 

HB 55 passed the House on Tuesday on another strong bipartisan vote of 38-2. This bill would extend the sunset date of the Technical Vocational Education Program (TVEP) for another year. The version of the bill that passed the House only extends the TVEP program for one more year due to concerns about the statutory allocations of funds to specific entities, which is something I hope to work on further. Throughout the process on this bill I have committed to resolving the underlying issues with the TVEP program for the long term. At this late moment in the session, we are unlikely to have time this session to resolve those issues. This program is important to many members of the Senate, and while there are only a few days left in session, I am confident that the TVEP program will extended for at least one more year.

 

The TVEP program provides technical and vocational education to thousands of Alaskans around the state. In Fiscal Year 2023, TVEP utilized $13.7 million from the Unemployment Insurance Trust to train over 8,500 Alaskans at 10 different providers around Alaska. The University of Alaska is the largest recipient of TVEP funds receiving over $6 million, which they utilize to train over 3,500 Alaskans at their campuses (including the UAF Community and Technical College) as well as grant recipients around Alaska. This is an important program, and I look forward to its continuation.

 

Stay tuned for a comprehensive recap of the status of each of my bills following the adjournment of the regular legislative session, as well as a recap of several other bills that my office has worked on and been closely tracking this legislative cycle.

Rep Carrick speaking on the House Floor



Teachers, Nurses, and Public Servant Appreciation Week

The first full week of May recognizes many important members of our community. It is simultaneously Teacher Appreciation Week, Nurse Appreciation Week, and Public Service Recognition Week. Teachers, nurses, and public servants serve as key members of our community and deserve our respect and appreciation.

 

Teachers not only teach our children, they prepare the next generation of Alaskans for success. However, years of flat funding from the state has resulted in larger class sizes and teachers not getting the support they need to do this incredibly important work. Permanently and meaningfully increasing the BSA remains one of my highest priorities. This not only stabilizes our school districts, its provides teachers with the resources they need to educate Alaska’s most valuable resource, our children.

 

Nurses were on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the impacts of that pandemic on the nursing sector are still being felt today. From personnel and supply shortages, to being villainized for simply protecting public health, nurses bore the brunt of the COVID-19 pandemic. To alleviate the nursing shortages in Alaska, during the 33rd Alaska Legislature the House Labor and Commerce Committee has been working on licensing reforms to make it easier for nurses to get a license in Alaska while balancing public health needs.

 

In Alaska, the public sector is inextricably linked to the private sector. Our public sector consists of thousands of dedicated Alaskans who are trying to make the lives of all Alaskans better. Unfortunately, the public sector in Alaska is in crisis as the result of serious staffing shortages. I spoke about this in a speech on the House Floor back in February. Our public sector employees need greater support, and that is achieved by addressing the public sector recruitment and retention crisis. To recruit and retain public sector employees we need to provide better pay and benefits, including a better retirement system. I am a proud co-sponsor of SB 88, the bill to fix our broken retirement system by establishing a defined benefit pension retirement. Passing this legislation is one of my highest priorities.

 

I would like to sincerely thank all our teachers, nurses, and public servants for their service to our community. Your work often goes unappreciated and unnoticed, but your success is critical to the success of our society and your work is deeply appreciated.

Rep Carrick absentee voting for the Special Municipal Election



Events Happening in Our Community

Golden Heart Clean Up Day

Clean Up Day is a community-wide volunteer initiative to clean up the trash uncovered by melting snow in the Fairbanks North Star Borough before the summer season begins. The Clean Up Day Committee is made up of volunteers from many different sponsoring organizations including: United Way of the Tanana Valley; Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities Adopt-a-Highway Program; Green Star of Interior Alaska; Midnight Sun Council, Boy Scouts of America; Greater Fairbanks Chamber of Commerce; Explore Fairbanks; Fairbanks North Star Borough Central Recycling Facility; Alaskans for Litter Prevention and Recycling; Cowles Heating Service, Inc.; and The Radiostation. Green and yellow bags may be picked up from Green Star of Interior Alaska, Cowles Heating Service, Midnight Sun Council Boy Scouts of America, FNSB Central Recycling Facility, and Golden Heart Waste Management. Volunteers with the Fairbanks Heavy Haulers will collect trash bags left at major intersections on the afternoon of May 11th only. Any yellow trash bags collected after Clean Up Day must be dropped off at the Fairbanks North Star Borough Solid Waste Facility from 8am to 4pm, Monday through Friday, from 9am to 4pm on Saturdays, and from noon to 4pm on Sundays. Tipping fees have been waived for all yellow bags brought through June 1, 2024. Recycling collected after May 11th may be brought to the Fairbanks Central Recycling Facility and may only include empty aluminum cans, plastic #1 bottles, and plastic #2 jugs. To register your group, please click this link. This is an excellent way to give back to your community!

 

Breaking Bread Bout

The Fairbanks Roller Derby will be hosting the Breaking Bread Bout on May 11 at the Carlson Center with proceeds going to benefit the Bread Line, Inc. of Fairbanks. Festivities will begin at 5pm with the Mash-Up Bout between the Rye Rollers and the Sourdough Smashers. Halftime entertainment during that match is courtesy of the Fairbanks Ladies of Wrestling (FLOW). The Headliner Bout begins at 7pm, with Alaska’s Ptarmageddon squaring off against Badfish from California. Halftime entertainment will be provided by Jewels of the North Belly Dance Troupe. Doors open at 4:30pm. For more information and to buy tickets, please visit their website.

 

Literary Reading with Ken Waldman

Since 1995, Ken Waldman has combined Appalachian-style string-band music using a fiddle and mandolin with his original poetry and Alaska-set storytelling for a unique performance. He continues to vary that combination, trying to find the best connection with his audience whatever the setting and venue. A former Fairbanksan and longtime Alaska resident, he'll feature his recent novel, Now Entering Alaska Time, which is partially set in Fairbanks, and will share other poems and stories of place, including poems in memory of long-time UAF professor Frank Soos, and in memory of Ken's UAF classmate and former Alaska writer laureate, Jerah Chadwick. Be sure to join Ken at the Bear Gallery on May 11 at 7pm for this free, one-of-a-kind event. For more information, please visit the Fairbanks Arts Association website.

 

UAF Arctic Research Open House

The 7th Annual Arctic Research Open House will take place Thursday, May 16 from 4pm to 7pm on the University of Alaska Fairbanks Upper Campus. Get “Tundra Struck” by University of Alaska Fairbanks’ research groups and jam out along the West Ridge of UAF’s Troth Yeddha’ campus! Try on a survival suit; tour the office of the National Weather Service; enjoy live music and corn dogs from Corndiggity Dog food truck, watch a lava demonstration, and launch a paper rocket. Parking is free along Koyukuk Drive. Don't miss the free ice cream hosted by the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and a chance to win door prizes. Minors must be accompanied by an adult. For more information, please email them or call (907)474-6000.

 

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