Historic Week

After holding the bill for nearly three weeks, the Majority Caucus omnibus education bill, SB 140, was finally brought to the floor. After three days of procedural votes and tough negotiations, my colleagues and I were able to secure a win for Alaskan families by passing an historic bipartisan comprehensive education bill that includes the largest permanent education funding increase inside the BSA in legislative history. Schools need permanent and predictable funding and this bill provides just that. We heard Alaskans’ voices and came together to craft a compromise. Our schools, our students, our families, and our educators will be better for it and student learning will be better served. To be clear, this increase does not fully catch schools up with inflation—it’s less than half of what districts told us they need to be whole again. While there is clearly more work to be done to support public education in Alaska, the passage of this bipartisan legislation marks a great day for our youth and for our future as a state. The collaboration required for its passage signals more good to come from this legislature. Representatives from all parts of the state and from all political perspectives came together to support public education—thank you to my colleagues for their hard work. If the Senate concurs on this legislation it will head to the Governor's desk for his signature. The final education package includes the following highlights:

  • It establishes by statute an increase in the BSA of $680 (~$175 million for k-12 education).

  • Reads Act funding: $500 for each k-3 student requiring an Individual Reading Intervention Plan (IRIP) through the Alaska Reads Act.

  • The State of Alaska will be able to access tens of millions of federal dollars to enhance broadband access & speed throughout the state.

  • Provides an increase of ~$7.3 million in student transportation funding.

  • Local control of charters is protected. It establishes a statewide charter school coordinator position within DEED and a process for charter school termination appeals.

  • Increased funding for correspondence schools: Raising the Average Daily Membership (ADM) value of a correspondent school student from 0.9 to 1.0.

  • It includes intent language regarding educator bonuses.

It is by no means a perfect bill, but it IS the result of many hours of hard work and compromise--representative democracy in action.

Scenes from the House floor during the week of February 19-23.

Rep. Dibert Floor Speech on her Amendment to add $680 to the BSA

Representative Dibert listening to constituents who dropped in for a chat.

Constituent Coffee

Last Sunday, February 18, I had the pleasure of visiting with and listening to constituents at McCaffertys Coffee House in downtown Fairbanks. The main topics were: education funding, public health needs, our youth, school closures, and childcare. Please stop by the next time I hold one of these listening sessions. I love speaking with community members in these informal settings.

Representative Dibert visiting with constituents while enjoying a cup of coffee and some baked goods at McCafferty's Coffee. Senator Kawasaki (who is, by the way, a very involved constituent in his own right) is also shown here participating in conversations.

Public Safety Employees in Fairbanks

On Friday, February 16, I was able to tour the Fairbanks Fire and Fairbanks Police Departments. I spoke with leadership at both locations as well as individual employees. I asked for background on their important work as well as any staffing concerns they have. Listening to our amazing first responders is both valuable and instructive. I recommend more residents of our great city including the business community spend some time listening and asking these public servants for their input and ideas. At the Fire Department we discussed the great value of the UAF & CTC training and certificate programs and the intrinsic value in having home grown fire fighters and EMT/EMS workers employed in serving our community. We discussed a time not that long ago where our vocational school, Hutchinson High, had a certificate program that instilled interest in our high school-aged residents while serving to develop our workforce.

At both the Fire and Police Departments we discussed the need to recruit and retain employees and how much retirement plan improvements such as those proposed in SB 88 might help in this endeavor. I was told that one of the main reasons many employees have chosen to work for a limited number of years (and be initially trained at a very high cost to the departments per employee) and then subsequently depart is due to the lack of a respectable defined benefits system as is found in the great majority of other states. The fact that these public safety employees will not be able to collect Social Security benefits because they do not pay into Social Security further compounds the likelihood that they will lack a decent retirement benefit when they retire after years of serving our community. This saddens me and I will continue to work hard to improve and remedy the situation.

Representative Dibert shown here looking at "Rescue 1" with Chief Andrew Coccaro and Nick Clark. They spent time discussing equipment, capital needs, and staffing issues in the ranks of the EMTs and Firemen in Fairbanks.

Representative Dibert shown here with Chief Andrew Coccaro and Nick Clark touring the Fairbanks Fire Department in downtown Fairbanks.

Representative Dibert with Deputy Chief Richard Sweet getting a tour of the Fairbanks Police Department and learning about their staffing issues and shift assignments.

Fairbanks Police and Shift Coverage

As part of my tour of the Police Department, I asked to learn about the officer shortage and the staffing/shift plan that is enabling them to continue to serve the city, albeit in a somewhat insufficient way. The current plan allows officers to work four 10 hour shifts with some voluntary overtime as well. Of concern to many constituents is the fact that there are no officers on regular shifts from 8am until 12:00pm each day. Calls that come in during this morning period are handled by a combination of detectives on duty or the Chief. At times this can put undo stress on EMT/EMS service call outs that require a police presence as well as creating a general anxiety among the public considering there are periods of each day with less than complete public safety coverage. This plan that was implemented due to a combination of staff turnover issues, staff recruiting issues, and budgetary considerations. The current team of police officers is doing its very best to provide excellent coverage but it is clear again that the current wages and benefits, especially retirement benefits, are not creating the demand nor the incentive to stay that I would like to see in our community.

Office Visits Provide Opportunities to Listen and Discuss Priorities

My office continues to meet with constituents as well as representatives from non-profit organizations, department heads, utilities, businesses large and small, advocacy groups, and more. My goal is to listen to people and to use their input to guide and inform my work. I look forward to more Fairbanks visits over the weeks to come. When I am home in Fairbanks, I will endeavor to make myself available as much as possible. I enjoy these opportunities to speak with constituents directly in District 31.

Representative Dibert with constituent Aaron Crook who is also a Alaska Senate Page this session.

Representative Dibert with Alyssa Bish and Julie Luey from Volunteers of America. They focus on mental and behavioral health needs of our youth.

Representative Dibert with Gabriel Nanok, City Administrator from Chevak and Mark Springer, Mayor of Bethel.

Representative Dibert with Trenton English and Jacob Howdeshell with Alaska Laborers Local 942.

Representative Dibert with Fairbanks Mayor Ward and Michaella Anderson.

Representative Dibert with Butch Currier, Rosetta Alcantra, and Heather Lambert from the Alaska Association of Realtors.

The 33rd Legislature in Action

If you are interested in what's going on during session, you can read about and watch all the action in Juneau. You can watch every single floor session, hearing, and committee meeting live or on an archived basis at Gavel Alaska. See below for useful links for citizens to track what's happening:

If you need something specific and you can not locate it, let my office know and we would be glad to assist.

Fairbanks Warming Shelter, HopeLink, is now open. Fairbanks HopeLink, located at 317 Wendell Ave, is an overnight warming center, open 7 nights a week, "meeting people where they are and keeping them warm, safe, and connected to community resources." The shelter is committed to providing a low-barrier environment for individuals experiencing homelessness during cold winter nights. If you know of anyone needing warm shelter, please pass the word. If you would like to get involved and help out, please contact them or visit the shelter.

Have you applied for the PFD yet?

The 2024 PFD filing season has begun. The application period is open until 11:59 PM Sunday, March 31, 2024. You can get more information and apply on line HERE.


Rural Alaska Honors Institute (RAHI) applications are being accepted for one more week at the RAHI websiteApplications are due by Friday, March 1st, 2024. RAHI is a competitive college preparation program at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. It is open to Alaska Native and rural Alaska students with at least a 3.0 GPA following the completion of their junior or senior year of high school.

Select Job Opportunities

List of current positions for:

-Fairbanks Pioneer Home

-State of Alaska positions in Fairbanks

-Fairbanks School District - Job Openings

-UAF Job Openings

Alaska’s Job Centers

* Job seekers: fairbanks.jobcenter@alaska.gov

* Employers: fairbanks.employers@alaska.gov

Thanks for staying engaged! I hope to see you in Fairbanks the next time I am in town. Thank you to the hundreds of you who have corresponded on issues that you feel are important.

Please feel welcome to visit my office in person or to give us a call anytime. We are here to help.

In humble service to the People of Fairbanks,

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Stay in Touch and Stay Informed

Contact Our Office

• Representative Dibert: Rep.Maxine.Dibert@akleg.gov

• Chief of Staff: Sarah.evans@akleg.gov

• Legislative Aide:


 Office Phone: 907-465-2138

Web: https://akhouse.org/rep-dibert/

Alaska State Capitol

Room 424

Juneau, AK 99801

Alaska Legislature Web Page

(contact info for every legislator)

Governor Dunleavy

(907) 465-3500

Senator Scott Kawasaki

(907) 907-465-3466

Senator Dan Sullivan

(202) 224-3004

Senator Lisa Murkowski

(202) 224-6665

Representative Mary Peltola

(202) 225-5765

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