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Friday, February 11

Greetings,
Things are going full speed ahead in Juneau. I’ve had a busy week with work on the budget, floor sessions, and many meetings, both in person and remote.
Alaska Marine Highway System

 
Meeting with the Governor's Office on AMHS 

Last Thursday, I had the opportunity to meet with the Governor’s office about the Alaska Marine Highway System. With significant funding for our ferries coming in through the Infrastructure, Investment, and Jobs Act (IIAJ), we have a unique opportunity to address some of the issues that have plagued our transportation infrastructure for far too long. I look forward to continuing the conversation about how to provide adequate ferry service to Southwest Alaska and all the other communities on the route.
DOT Commissioner Meeting
Upcoming Opportunity to Share Thoughts on Infrastructure

In my newsletter last November, I shared a link to a Department of Transportation (DOT) survey where Alaskans had an opportunity to express their thoughts on infrastructure needs in the state. This week, I met with the new DOT Commissioner, Ryan Anderson, and we talked about the results. Over 2,000 responses came in from all over the state, providing important insight into where the department's focus should be. In the coming months, DOT will be putting out a follow-up survey that will help guide where federal funds from the Infrastructure, Investment, and Jobs Act should be directed. I’ll share the survey link when it’s available to make sure that your voice can be heard.
Alaska READS Act
Concerns About Education Reform

The Alaska Reads Act (SB111, HB164) is sweeping legislation designed to create a statewide comprehensive K-3 reading policy to improve reading outcomes. The bill has admirable and ambitious goals, but we need to make sure that the concerns of rural schools are heard during the hearing process. I support strategies to improve educational outcomes but we must examine root causes of why students are under achieving and apply resources accordingly. Alaska’s students deserve our best no matter where they might live and I look forward to working  to find well-considered solutions.
Alaska Municipal League Winter Legislative Meeting
AML in Juneau

Next week, the Alaska Municipal League will be in Juneau for their Winter Legislative Meeting. This meeting is an opportunity for legislators to meet with municipal leaders from across the state about key issues and how policy at the state level impacts communities. I look forward to meeting with leaders from our district and working with them to ensure that what we do supports their important work back home.
State of the Judiciary
First Alaska Born Chief Justice Addresses the Legislature

On Wednesday, Alaska’s Chief Justice of the Supreme Court gave his State of the Judiciary Address. Chief Justice Daniel Winfree opined on the turbulent times we’re living in, and reflected on the fact that we’ve been through similar challenges before. Through it all, he said, Alaska is still standing. He emphasized his commitment to equal justice for all and expressed a strong intent to “provide timely and effective judicial services in rural Alaska to the fullest extent possible.” In my time in the legislature, Chief Justice Winfree’s address was one of the best that I’ve witnessed. I look forward to hearing more from him as the Chief Justice of Alaska’s highest court.
Department of Fish & Game Concerns
Questions About Direction of the CFEC

Last week, the House Finance Committee’s budget subcommittee for the Department of Fish & Game heard a presentation from the Commercial Fisheries Entry Commission (CFEC). I was struck that there has been a significant shift in the purpose and role of CFEC. A large part of the conversation focused on how the commission is moving forward with optimization studies in fisheries around the state. I have many questions about the decision-making process being employed and will be keeping a close eye on the commission in the future.
Still Waiting on Board of Fish Appointee
Expecting Appointee to Be Named Soon

We’re still waiting to find out who Governor Dunleavy will nominate to fill the vacancy created by the departure of Indy Walton from the Board of Fish. I’ve heard talk of specific names but the Governor has yet to forward a name to the legislature. I look forward to vetting the nominee to ensure that they’ll bring a balanced and thoughtful approach to the Board of Fisheries.
Statewide Bycatch Task Force
Second Meeting of the Bycatch Task Force

The Statewide Bycatch Task Force held its second meeting today where work began on creating subcommittees that will lead to a statewide workplan. The next meeting of the task force will be March 9th.
CAPSIS Deadline Extension
CAPSIS Project Submissions Due February 15th

The deadline to submit capital projects for consideration in the CAPSIS system (capital projects list) has been extended to Tuesday, February 15th at 5:00 pm. In order to submit projects, communities must have a CAPSIS account setup in the Legislative Finance Division's system. If you don't have an account, please contact my office ASAP and we can help you through the process.
University of Alaska STEM Outreach Opportunity
A Chance for Students to Fly Drones

The University of Alaska’s Alaska Center for Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration (ACUASI) has FAA funding through an FAA Center of Excellence for UAS research grant to travel to communities around the state for science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) outreach.  If there is interest in ACUASI coming out to teach students how to test and operate the university’s drones, feel free to reach out to my office and we’ll connect you with the ACUASI.
On Deck
Items of interest on the legislative calendar
Coming Up This Week:
Monday Feb 14th
(H)Resources 1:00PM
HB 52 Tutka Bay Hatchery
HB 287 A: Oil & Gas Tax Credit Fund Approp.

(H)Finance 1:30PM
HB 281 Approp: Operating Budget/Loans/Funds
HB 282 Approp: Mental Health Budget
Presentation: Department of Transportation and Public Facilities by Deputy Commissioner Rob Carpenter and Dom Pannone, Administrative Services Director

(S)Resources
SB 180 Passenger Vessel Environmental Compliance
-Public Testimony-

Tuesday Feb 15th
(H)Fisheries 10:00AM
Presentation: Disaster Declarations for Alaska Fisheries by Deputy Commissioner Rachel Baker, Alaska Department of Fish and Game

(H)Energy 10:15AM
HB 247 Power Cost Equalization Fund
HB 299 Microreactors
-Public Testimony-

(H)Ways & Means 11:30AM
Presentation: The Cost of Child Abuse and Neglect in Alaska by Trevor Storrs, President and CEO of the Alaska Children’s Trust

(H)Military & Veterans’ Affairs 1:00PM
Presentation: Oath Keepers Informational Hearing by Sam Jackson, Author of “Oath Keeepers: Patriotism and the Edge of Violence in a Right-Wing Antigovernment Group”, and Matthem Kriner, Senior Research Scholar, Center on Terrorism, Extremism, And Counterterrorism, Middlebury Institute of International Studies, Monterey

(H)Transportation 1:00PM
Presentation: Alaska Marine Highway Operations Board: Moving Forward by Katherine Keith, Change Management Director

(S)State Affairs 3:30PM
SB 136 Limitations on Firearms Restrictions
SB 152  Legislative Sessions in Anchorage
HB 148 Alaska Coordinate System of 2022
SB 145 Legislator Retroactive Per Diem
SB 147 Organ Donation; ADL Renewal
SB 92 Missing Persons Under 21 Years Old
HB 123 State Recognition of Tribes
-Public Testimony-

Wednesday Feb 16th
(S)Education 9:00AM
Consideration of the Governor’s Appointees: Kim Bergey, Professional Teaching Practices Commission
SB 34 State-Tribal Education Compact Schools
SB 174 Allow Natural Hairstyles
SB 112 Student Transportation Planning

(S)Judiciary 1:30PM
SB 182 Interference with Emergency Services
-Public Testimony-
SB 7 State Troopers Policies: Public Access
-Public Testimony-
SB 31 Prohibiting Binding Caucuses

(H) Education 3:30PM
Presentation: Understanding culturally-relevant education in Alaska by Atan’ Winkleman, Education Specialist, Yukon-Koyukuk School District and Joshua Gill, Principal, Ayaprun Elitnaurvik, Yup’ik Immersion Elementary School
SB 20 Out of State Teacher Reciprocity
-Public Testimony-

(S)Resources 3:30PM
SB 121 PFAS Use & Remediation; Fire/water Safety
-Invited & Public Testimony-

Thursday February 17th
(H) Fisheries 11:00AM
Presentation: Statewide Salmon Assessment by Dr. Katie Howard, Fisheries Scientist, Alaska Department of Fish and Game and Sam Rabung, Director, Division of Commercial Fisheries; Alaska Department of Fish and Game

(H) Transportation 1:00PM
Presentation: Alaska Marine Highway Workforce: Partnerships for the Future by Shannon Admanson, Masters, Mates and Pilots, Ben Goldrich, Marine Engineers Beneficial Association; Earling Walli, Inlandboatmen’s Union of the Pacific

(S) Transportation 1:30PM
SB 170 Marine Highway Corporation

(H) Health & Social Services 3:00PM
HB 308 Dementia Awareness
-Publc Testimony-
HB 265 Health Care Services by Telehealth
-Public Testimony-
E.O. 121: DHSS Reorganization

Friday February 18th
(H)Finance 1:30PM
HB 281 Approp: Operating Budget/Loans/Funds
HB 282 Approp: Mental Health Budget
Don't forget to file your application for the 2022 Permanent Fund Dividend!
Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me or my staff with any issues or concerns.

All the best,
Office Phone: (907) 465-4451
Toll free: (800) 898-445
 
Contact my staff:
Amory: amory.lelake@akleg.gov
Seth: seth.whitten@akleg.gov
Laib: laib.allensworth@akleg.gov
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