We're Over the Halfway Mark

Hello from Juneau! We're past the halfway mark and on the way down hill. Public testimony is being accepted on numerous bills this week. The topics drawing the most attention from the public include education funding, defined benefits retirement, and the operating budget, among others. As bills move to the finance committees, you will have another chance to chime in and advocate for the legislative priorities that you believe should receive the most attention and funding. Thank you to all who have given public testimony on the issues you are most passionate about. Remember, I am here to represent you, the people of Fairbanks, so do not hesitate to contact my office with your priorities, messages, and ideas.

Dustin Morris, Jim Biela and Andy Elliott from American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

Education Legislation Update

On Tuesday March 21, over a hundred of Alaskans testified to the House Education Committee regarding HB 65, the bill I co-sponsor, which increases the Base Student Allocation (BSA) by $1250. Public hearing continued for almost five hours as Alaskans testified in person in Juneau and at LIO's across the state, on the phone, and by email. A substantial majority of the public opinions submitted were in support of increasing the BSA. The next morning (Wednesday, March 22), the Education Committee convened and debated several amendments to the bill before passing it on to House Finance on a 5-2 bi-partisan vote. Your voices were heard! The bill that emerged included a two-year increase to the BSA. It was a smaller total increase than I had hoped, but it is important that it was moved out of committee. The bill sent to House Finance includes a BSA increase of $800 ($680 in FY24 and $120 in FY25). While this is less than schools have told us they need. I am glad that a bill with at least a moderate increase was eventually passed through. In the end this means there is a much better chance that the bill will make it to the House floor. It is still possible the Finance Committee could modify these amounts so stay tuned as the process proceeds and do chime in when the opportunities arise.

Over in the other body, SB 88 has had several hearings and public testimony opportunities. As a reminder, SB 88 would create a defined benefit retirement option for new public safety employees including police officers and firefighters as well as for teachers and other critical public employees. Things are looking up for this bill. Regardless of how the retirement bills progress, I will continue to advocate for establishing a defined benefit system that will allow us to recruit Alaskans to be teachers and peace officers and that will truly help us convince our brightest and best young professionals to stay right here in Alaska for their entire careers.

John Ringstad, along with FNSBSD School Board Members Chrya Sanderson, and April Smith discussing the importance of funding our schools with Representative Dibert

Fiscal Happenings at the Capitol

The spring revenue forecast was released by the Department of Revenue on Tuesday, March 21st. The forecast is publicly available on the Department of Revenue website. The estimates include the department’s updated outlook for oil prices, oil production, and state revenue. Because of a lower outlook for oil prices and production, the Unrestricted General Fund (UGF) revenue forecast has decreased by $246 million for FY 2023 and $679 million for FY 2024. These projections mean that there is a deficit that needs attention for the year ending on June 30th as well as a likely shortfall for the next fiscal year. As the legislature contemplates the FY 2024 budget (a work in progress), it must account for a potential deficit of somewhere between $900 million and $100 million. The deficit size is dependent on many variables including the final operating budget, the capital budget, and the amount of the Permanent Fund Dividend.


The recently released revenue forecast indicates a deficit of about $246 million in the current fiscal year that ends June 30. Addressing this deficit requires a transfer from the Constitutional Budget Reserve (CBR). Such a transfer requires a 3/4 vote of both bodies of the legislature. In the House we have already agreed to this transfer by advancing a fast-tracked budget bill that also adds approximately $8 million to fix our serious food stamp backlog problem as well as funds to address the critical shortage of public defenders. I worked hard in conjunction with other members of the Alaska House Coalition in advocating for immediate funding for these two critical areas of need. In light of the recently released revenue projections, it is important to remember that my legislative priorities of increasing the BSA, addressing recruitment and retention issues, and working to stem the child care crisis are as critical now as ever--this spring revenue forecast just further demonstrates the need for fiscal responsibility and for the legislature to stop kicking the can down the road and pass a real long-term fiscal plan so that we can adequately fund education, the Permanent Fund Dividend, and the other essential services Alaskans depend on. With only about $2 billion left in the CBR, the time is now to get our fiscal house in order.

High-Level Executives & Legislative Pay Raises

Earlier in the session, the State Officer Compensation Commission submitted a report which recommended salary increases for the Governor, Lt. Governor, and executive department heads. Subsequently, the legislature unanimously rejected the commission’s recommended pay increases. Then, last week, the Governor replaced all members of the commission, and the new commission rapidly voted to amend the report to include large legislative pay raises, at which point the governor then vetoed SB 86 giving the legislature until March 25 to override the veto or the executive and legislative pay increases would be automatically adopted. It seems unlikely that the legislature has the votes to override the Governor's veto. Because of what, in my view, was an extremely flawed process where decisions were made without public input, two other legislators and I are having legislation drafted that proposes to nullify the recommendations of the new Alaska State Officer Compensation Commission. Stay tuned for specifics on the legislation. This is our press release on the issue that describes the timeline and the processes we object to. While I do not object conceptually to fair compensation increases, I believe that teachers, peace officers, firefighters as well as other public employees should be at the front of the line.

The section of Aurora Drive that will be closed for construction of the new bridge.

New Bridge in the Aurora Neighborhood!

Aurora Drive Noyes Slough Bridge Replacement

The long-awaited bridge replacement is finally happening. After many years of traffic and pedestrian issues on the bridge, DOT, in cooperation with HC Contractors, will be replacing the Noyes Slough Bridge on Aurora Drive. The project is detailed here. Construction is expected to start during the last week of March. It will repair roadside hardware and water and sewer lines. In addition the project will make drainage improvements and ADA adjustments. The construction is projected be completed by the end of October 2023.

Kirsten Dolan and Sarah Oates representing CHARR

Patrice Lee, Jasmine Jemewouk, and Adam Ortega, from ACAT

Emily Edenshaw- CEO of Alaska Native Heritage Center

Interior Delegation Urges Support for Firefighter Facilities

Last week the Interior Delegation penned this support letter to Senator Lisa Murkowski urging funds to replace and upgrade the Fairbanks Wildland Firefighter Response Facility and the Wildland Support Warehouse. This project is extremely important as it proposes to improve protections for Alaskans and their property as well as our state's resources. The requested federal monies would allow the Division of Forestry to build these facilities and to train more rural firefighters, store more equipment, and deploy more firefighters across the interior and the state. Additionally, the upgraded facility is projected to save the State of Alaska approximately $1.5 million dollars through the next ten years. Our Interior Delegation supports this use of federal funds and asks Senator Murkowski for her support for this key wildland firefighting upgrade.

Child Care Legislation

HB 46, Zack Fields' child care legislation that I am co-sponsoring, passed out of Labor and Commerce and this week it had a first hearing in the Health and Social Services Committee. Since both HB 46 and HB 89 (both childcare bills) are now in HSS, we are hoping that a consolidated child care bill with significant child care reforms will advance out of committee and make it to the house floor. As you know, establishing legislative means to support and improve child care opportunities is one of my top legislative priorities.

Legislative Bill Sponsorship Update

I am currently co-sponsoring the following bills:

HB 28 Access to Marijuana Conviction Records

HB 44 Cultural Education Program

HB 46 Child Care Provider Collective Bargaining

HB 65 Increase Base Student Allocation (BSA)

HB 78 Alaska Community Health Aide Appreciation

HB 89 Day Care Assistance and Child Care Grant Program

HCR 1 Joint Task Force on Labor, Retention, and workforce development

HJR 4 Honoring the Alaska-Korea relationship

HJR 9 Constitutional Amendment regarding the long term preservation of the Permanent Fund

HJR 11 Addresses Air Pollution in Fairbanks

Representatives Dibert, Himshoot, and Story meeting with Penny Gage, the managing Director at Launch Alaska. Gage helps climate tech companies deploy their technologies in Alaska.

It Takes a Village

Meals on Wheels! Please take a moment to visit the Fairbanks Senior Center web page and participate in their "It takes a Village" campaign to raise funds for the Meals on Wheels program. The campaign is also geared to encourage residents to volunteer to help our seniors. You can contribute online at the web site or you can make a pledge by phoning 907-452-2562. The Center’s goal is to collect $50,000. March 27 to 31 is designated as “In Memory of ” week. Donors may make a donation in the name of anyone living or dead. Please donate or volunteer today!

TCC: Chief Herbie Demit, Chief Chairman Brian Ridley, and Vice President Sharon Hildebrand

Free Pop-Up Health Clinic

Great Opportunity for Fairbanks Families:

The Mountain View Lions Club and Remote Area Medical (RAM) are partnering to offer a Free pop-up clinic at Ryan Middle School from April 22 at 6am until April 23 at 2pm. A pool of volunteer medical professionals will provide services at no cost to Alaskans.

This two-day event will provide hundreds of Alaskans with free, proactive health care services (dental, vision, mental, medical) so they can get help now with undiagnosed, debilitating, or life-threatening health issues, regardless of ability to pay. With a current glasses’ prescription, you can get free glasses made with the lens lab on site. Patient parking is offered at the Ryan Middle School parking lot, where people can start lining up in the parking spots on Friday evening. View the event link for more details. 

Fairbanks Jobs Corner

If you have listings you would like to see added to this Jobs Corner, please let me know, and I will add them to the list. Also if you would like information on training for any of these or other positions my office may be able to point you in the right direction.

-AFL-CIO: Interior Labor Coordinator

-Apprenticeships in the Trades: Apprenticeships-openings

List of current positions for:

-State of Alaska positions in Fairbanks

-Fairbanks Native Association

-Doyon Limited

-Fairbanks School District - Job Openings

-Foundation Health Partners (hospital, TVC, and more)- Job Openings

-Foundation Health Partners training opportunities and apprenticeships

-Tanana Chiefs including Chief Andrew Isaac

-UAF Job Openings

-Northern Alaska Tours company

-HollandAmerica Princess

-Rural Alaska Honors Institute (RAHI)

Thank you from Juneau.

March 31 at midnight is the deadline to apply for an Alaska Permanent Fund Dividend! The easiest and quickest way to apply is: online.

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

In humble service to the People of Fairbanks,

View Maxine's Message as a webpage

Stay in Touch and Stay Informed

Contact Our Office

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

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

• Staff:


 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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