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Friday, February 25

Greetings,
It’s been a busy week in Juneau. Senator Murkowski was in town to give her annual address to the legislature, finance subcommittees began closing out their work, and I met with a number of constituents about their legislative priorities and concerns. Things will keep picking up as we approach the halfway point of the legislative session in the next couple weeks and the legislature works to craft a budget that serves Alaskans’ needs and helps position us to take advantage of the opportunities just over the horizon.
Renewable Energy Bill

 
Keeping Alaska on the Forefront of Renewable Energy

This week, I introduced HB358 (Renewable Energy Grant Fund). This bill will extend the Renewable Energy Fund (REF) for 10 years. I co-sponsored the original legislation in 2008 to put Alaska on the leading edge of funding for renewable energy projects. Since then, the legislature has appropriated $282 million for projects in this program, with nearly 88% of that funding going to projects outside of the railbelt. Our district currently has three active REF projects and I look forward to the program being extended to allow rural Alaska to continue to benefit from renewable energy initiatives in the state.
Murkowski Address
Senator Murkowski Addresses Joint Session of the Legislature

On Tuesday, Senator Murkowski addressed a joint session of the House and Senate. She discussed a wide range of topics, ranging from the federal response to deal with the damage caused by the pandemic, to her bipartisan effort to pass the historic infrastructure bill, to securing funding and setting policy for responsible resource development in Alaska. I took the opportunity to personally thank Senator Murkowski for her work on behalf of our district and all of Alaska and I truly appreciate her commitment to find common ground and do right by the state we love and the people we serve.
Subcommittee Closeouts
Progress on the Budget

At the end of the week, we closed out two of the three House Budget Subcommittees that I chair. This is one of the first steps in getting the operating budget across the finish line. We’ll be wrapping up our final subcommittee this weekend and I’m looking forward to presenting our work to the full Finance Committee in the days ahead.
APICDA Board Meeting
Meeting with Local Leaders

On Wednesday, I had the opportunity to meet with the APICDA Board by Zoom. It was great to see familiar faces and get updates from the six communities in the region. We talked about issues with broadband service in rural Alaska as well as other critical infrastructure needs.  I’m grateful for all the local leaders who do so much for our communities and for the chance to stay up to date on everything going on.
VPSO in House Tribal Affairs Committee
Improving Public Safety in Rural Alaska

The House Tribal Affairs Committee met on Thursday to hear an update from the Department of Public Safety on the VPSO program. I was pleased to see that the relationship between the Department of Public Safety and VPSO contractors is improving as we recognize the need for improved collaboration to provide rural Alaskan communities with the public safety resources they need.
Meeting with Longshoremen
Longshoreman, Travis Swangel, and I discuss infrastructure improvements in Unalaska
Unalaskan Longshoremen Visit Juneau

On Thursday, I met with members of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union who represent longshoremen in our district. We had a good conversation about how the pandemic has affected their members and about their request for federal relief.
Public Testimony on Operating Budget
Make Your Voice Heard

Next Thursday, March 3rd at 1:30 pm, the House Finance Committee will begin hearing public testimony on the operating budget. I encourage residents of our district to call in and share their thoughts. Public testimony is scheduled from 2:00pm-4:00pm, please make sure to call in at least 30 minutes prior to the end of the scheduled time to make sure your voice is heard!
On Deck
Items of interest on the legislative calendar
Coming Up This Week:

Monday Feburary 28th
(H)Education 8:00AM
Presentation: Understanding culturally responsive education in Alaska by Lance (X_’unei) A Twitchell, M.F.A., Ph.D., University of Alaska Southeast, Alaska Native Languages
(S)Education 9:00AM
Presentation: “Update on Teacher Recruitment and Retention Task Force” by Barbara Adams
(S)Finance 9:00AM
Consideration of the Governor’s Appointees: Kevin Fimon, Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority Board of Trustees
SB 81 Village Public Safety Officers Grants
-Public Testimony-
(H)Finance 2:30PM
HB 64 Fisheries Development Assoc.; Assessments
-Public Testimony-
HB 30 Workers’ Comp: Death; Perm Partial Impair
-Public Testimony-

Tuesday March 1st
(H)Community & Regional Affairs 8:00AM
HB 227 Muni Energy Improvement Assessment Program
-Public Testimony-
HB 243 & SB 143 Common interest Communities; Liens
(H)Tribal Affairs 8:00AM
HB 313 Village Public Safety Officers Grants
(H)Energy 10:15AM
HB 299 Microreactors
HB 358 Renewable Energy Grant Fund
-Public Testimony-
(H)Transportation 1:00PM
HB 366 Leg. Approval: AK Railroad Revenue Bonds
-Public Testimony-
HB 322 AK Marine Hwy. Systems Vessel Repl. Fund
-Public Testimony-
HB 352 Consult With Tribes to Rename Glenn Hwy
(H)Finance 1:30PM
HB 281 Approp: Operating Budget/Loans/Funds
HB 282 Approp: Mental Health Budget
Subcommittee Closeout Reports

Wednesday March 2nd
(H&S)Education 8:30AM
Joint Meeting
Presentation: Annual Report by State Board of Education
(H)Labor & Commerce 1:30PM
Presentation: Workforce Development in Rural Alaska

Thursday March 3rd
(H)Tribal Affairs 8:00AM
Presentation: Missing and Murdered Indigenous Persons
HB 313 Village Public Safety Officers Grants
(S)Education 10:00AM
SB 34 State-Tribal Education Compact Schools
SB 140 Designate Sex for School-Sponsored Sports
(H)Fisheries 10:00AM
Presentation: Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute Updated by Jeremy Woodrow, Executive Director, Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute
(H)Energy 10:15AM
HB 247 Power Cost Equalization Fund
HB 358 Renewable Energy Grant Fund
(H)Ways & Means 11:30AM
Presentation: Long-Term Forecast of Medicaid Enrollment and Spending in Alaska by Ted Helvoigt, Ph.D, Vice President, Evergreen Economics
Presentation: Alaska CARES trends and forecast by Emily Ricci, Health Care Policy Administrator, Department of Administration
(S)Finance 1:00PM
Executive Order 121 – Divide DHSS into Department of Health and Department of Family & Community Services, Adam Crum, Commissioner DHSS, Sylvan Robb, Assistant Commissioner, DHSS, Stacie Kraly, Director, Civil Division, LAW
(H)Finance 1:30PM
HB 281 Approp: Operating Budget/Loans/Funds
HB 282 Approp: Mental Health Budget
-Public Testimony 2:00PM – 4:00PM -
2 Minute Limit
Juneau, Sitka, Petersburg, Delta Junction, Dillingham, Glenallen, Valdez, Wrangell
Please sign in\call 30 min. prior to the end of allotted time or testimony.
(S)Health & Social Services 1:30PM
SB 192 Board of Licensed Midwives
SB 175 Health Care Services by Telehealth
(H)Health & Social Services 3:00PM
HSCR 2 Disapproving Executive Order 121
HB 265 Healthcare Services by Telehealth
-Public Testimony-
HB 292 Home and Community-Based Waiver Services
(S) State Affairs 3:30PM
SB 136 Limitations on Firearms Restrictions
SB 152 Legislative Sessions in Anchorage
-Public Testimony-
SB 167 Elections; Fraud; Ballots
-Public Testimony-
HB 123 State Recognition of Tribes

Friday March 4th
(S)Health & Social Services 7:45AM
Alaska’s Medicaid Program Update
Division of Public Assistance Update
Office of Children’s Services Update
(H)Education 8:00AM
HB 350 School Bond Debt Reimbursement
-Public Testimony-
HB 108 Concurrent Secondary & Trade School
HB 48 AK Performance Scholarships; Eligibility
(H)Finance 1:30PM
HB 281 Approp: Operating Budget/Loans/Funds
HB 282 Approp: Mental Health Budget
- Public Testimony 1:30 – 3:30PM-
2 Minute Limit
Fairbanks, Kenai, Mat-Su, Anchorage, Bethel, Cordova, Kotzebue, Nome, Utqiagvik

Saturday March 5th
(H)Finance 11:00AM
HB 281 Approp: Operating Budget/Loans/Funds
HB 282 Approp: Mental Health Budget
- Public Testimony 11:00AM – 2:00PM-
2 Minute Limit
Off Net Testifiers
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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