May 19, 2023

Dear Friends, Neighbors, and Fellow Fairbanksans,


Welcome to the eighteenth edition of The Carrick Capitol Connection! The 121st and final day of the regular legislative session was on Wednesday evening and the House Majority adjourned without passing a budget. Since the Legislature is constitutionally required to pass a budget and the House did not fulfill this requirement, the Governor immediately called a special session. Luckily this was not a drawn-out special session, ending after one day, with the House concurring to the Senate’s budget late yesterday evening. While it is difficult to fully recap the hectic last days of session, I want to provide an update as the dust continues to settle. Continue reading for a recap on the end of session.


Session Adjourns After Short Special Session Stalemate

A lot has happened since the operating budget passed the House in mid-April. As the Senate began work on the budget, tensions among the House Majority were rising, and there was difficulty working towards a compromise that would balance the deficit budget sent to the Senate by the House, as well as provide for critical state services, for education, and for a Dividend payment this year. Keep reading for a full recap of the budget process, and the short special session that led to passage of this year’s operating budget and adjournment. 

Representative Carrick and her staff taking a lunch break during the last day of the regular legislative session on an nice day in Juneau

Operating Budget Play-By-Play

 On the last day of the regular session the Senate passed its version of the budget over to the House. The omnibus budget that the Senate passed, also known as a "turducken" budget included the supplemental, capital, and operating budgets in one document. “Turducken” budgets have become an increasingly common tool of the Senate to expedite the budget process. While they are effective at speeding up the budget process, they effectively cut the House out of the conversation on the capital budget which originates in the Senate. Despite this, major efforts were made by the Senate to work with House Majority leadership before moving the budget over for a potential concurrence vote, and negotiations had stalled leading into the waning days of session.


Then, on the last day of the regular session, the Senate passed its “turducken” budget, and then adjourned until next year. The House Majority leadership then made the decision to abruptly adjourn late on Wednesday night without taking up the budget passed back to us from the Senate. Immediately following the House’s adjournment, the Governor called a special session, which began on Thursday morning. Luckily, last minute negotiations between the House and Senate resulted in an agreement on the first day of the special session and the Legislature adjourned in one day.


Supporting Concurrence on the Senate Budget

On Wednesday night, the House Majority adjourned before taking up an important vote on whether to concur to the Senate version of the budget. While I understand some of the frustration from the House Majority members on the budget process, it is important to remember that this same majority sent over a deficit budget that was impossible for many members, including myself, to support. In the Senate, necessary changes were made, and important compromises were sought. The budget put forward by the Senate is balanced with existing revenue and does not rely on quickly depleting savings accounts. Here are some other facts about the operating budget received from the Senate:

  • Provides the largest one-time increase to education funding in state history of $175 million which is equivalent to a $680 one-time increase to the Base Student Allocation.
  • Increased the University’s budget by $1.3 million from the budget that passed the House. While this is smaller than the combined $10 million dollar increase that I tried to add in the House, it is more than what the Governor requested, especially when combining the capital budget money received for deferred maintenance.
  • Capital Budget items include $47 million to address deferred maintenance at the University of Alaska. Fairbanks specific items include $3 million to fully remove the Polaris Building, and $7.1 million to construct the Veterans Cemetery.
  • A $50 million investment for childcare; although $7.5 million less than the Senate Finance Committee’s budget, this is still a meaningful investment.
  • Provides a responsible Permanent Fund Dividend of $1300 for this year and allows that number to increase in the event of a budget surplus.

Ultimately, I supported concurrence on the Senate version of the budget, and I believed we should not have needed to go into a costly and unnecessary special session to try and make further changes. However, the House Majority did not agree, and thus we entered a special session that began yesterday morning. 

Representative Carrick speaking on the House Floor during the debate on the budget

Special Session and Final Adjournment

Luckily the House and Senate were able to work together and pass a responsible budget and keep the special session short. The Senate version of the budget was far better than the budget that passed the House back in mid-April, providing a balanced budget that does not draw from savings for the first time in 10 years. This budget also provides for essential services and a reasonable PFD for the coming year. I am proud to have voted for concurrence to the Senate’s budget as it was the quickest way to end the special session and avoid pink slips for state employees, especially teachers, which would have gone out on June 1.


Now that the Legislature has passed the budget, it goes to the Governor for his consideration. He has until the beginning of the new fiscal year (July 1) to sign it and veto what he chooses. Most of us remember his first year when he vetoed nearly half a billion dollars from the budget which was catastrophic for many essential programs and especially the University of Alaska. This year, the Governor worked in greater consultation with House and Senate leadership, and I have hope that he will show restraint and keep his vetoes to a minimum. Stay tuned to hear what changes the Governor decides to make when that is announced. 

After Action Review- My Legislation

The end of regular sessions are always hectic with both the budget and many other bills on the move. As I reported in the previous Carrick Capitol Connection, I had my first bill pass the Legislature last week. I have discussed House Bill 8 before, but briefly this is my bill to define e-bikes in statute and bring clarity to their legal status. I look forward to having the Governor sign this bill into law, hopefully within the next couple of weeks!


House Bill 17: Insurance Coverage for Contraceptives

My other bill that was actively moving at the end of session was House Bill 17. To briefly recap, this is my bill to mandate insurance companies cover 12 months of contraceptives, if prescribed. In the Labor and Commerce Committee on the Saturday before the end of session, I attempted to roll House Bill 17 into another bill that was on track to pass this year, but that action was unfortunately voted down. Although HB 17 was not added to that other bill, this action added pressure and HB 17 was finally scheduled for consideration on the House Floor. Yet, it was scheduled on the last day of session, and the House had adjourned abruptly before HB 17 could be taken up. This means that we must wait until next year to have it considered by the whole House. I remain confident we have the votes to get this bill passed next year, and I hope it can be calendared and taken up for passage to the Senate within the first week of session.  

Representative Carrick (center) after swimming across Gastineau Channel during a hot day in Juneau

House Bills 9 and 10: University of Alaska Faculty Regent and Textbook Price Transparency

Next session I look forward to continue working on House Bill 17 and my other legislation including my bill to add a faculty member to the Board of Regents (HB 9), which is currently stalled in the House Judiciary committee. I also look forward to continue working with Senator Myers on our bill relating to textbook cost transparency (HB 10/SB 13), which passed the Senate this year. SB 13 will start in the House next session for further consideration after an initial hearing on my version of the bill which took place earlier this session in the House Education committee.


House Bill 164: Secure Storage of Firearms

I also look forward to continuing to have a constructive dialogue surrounding HB 164, which is my bill relating to the secure storage of firearms and protecting children against accidental death from firearms. This bill is also stuck in the House Judiciary Committee.


Coming Soon! House Bill 55: Supporting Workforce Development

Finally, my bill to support workforce development by extending the Technical Vocational Education Program (HB 55) will begin through the process in the House next year. HB 55 is a must pass bill next year because the TVEP program is set to expire at the end of the next fiscal year (June 30, 2024). We did not begin pushing this bill this session as we await the completion of a program audit but stay tuned next session as we begin pushing this bill in earnest.


Next session I look forward to keeping you all in the loop as these various bills progress, and let you know how you can get involved on these and other bills in the Legislature.



Time to Head Home

Now that the Legislature has nearly completed its business for the time being, everyone has begun to leave Juneau and head home, including me and my staff. I will be sure to let you know when my office opens in Fairbanks at the Fairbanks LIO. Until then, during the transition back to Fairbanks, the best way to reach out to my office is to email me and my staff directly. You can find that contact information below. Since I am in the minority, I only get one staff person when we are not in session and my staff Stuart Relay will be traveling with his family for the first couple weeks of interim. Please bear with us if we are slow to respond during this transition.


As we have reached the end of this year’s legislative session, I want to take a moment to sincerely thank my other staff person Cherie Bowman for her work and dedication to our office this session. She has been an invaluable part of Team Carrick. For the interim, Cherie will also be working from the Fairbanks LIO for Senator Scott Kawasaki, but we look forward to welcoming her back next session.


Please feel free to reach out to me and my staff if we may be of service to you and your family. Also, if there are any community events or opportunities that you think we should mention in the Carrick Capitol Connection or on social media, please feel free to reach out and let us know. We are happy to help and are always here for you! 

Representative Ashley Carrick

Proudly Serving House District 35 -- West Fairbanks


Alaska State Capitol, Room 428

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Contact my Staff

Stuart Relay

Chief of Staff


Cherie Bowman

Legislative Aide


Contact the Fairbanks Legislative Information Office

1292 Sadler Way Ste 308

Fairbanks, AK 99701

Office: 907-452-4448

Fax: 907-456-3346

Contact the Governor's Fairbanks Office

675 7th Ave, Ste. H5

Fairbanks, AK 99701-4596


Contact your Congressional Delegation

Congresswoman Mary Peltola

Anchorage Office:

121 W Fireweed Ln, Ste. 260

Anchorage, AK 99503

Phone: 907-921-6575




Senator Lisa Murkowski

Fairbanks Office:

250 Cushman Ave, Suite 2D

Fairbanks, AK 99701

Phone: (907) 456-0233

Fax: (877) 857-0322


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


Website: Sullivan.Senate.Gov