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                                                                                                        May 23, 2022

Greetings,
On May 18th, the legislature finished its work on schedule. I'm pleased to report that we were able to deliver an operating and capital budget that provide significant support for House District 37 and the rest of the state.

Oil revenues zoomed upward in FY22, and increased prices are forecasted through FY23. Subsequently, the legislature was able to fund many important items in the budget and deliver the largest PFD ever. I'll be sending out a comprehensive newsletter in the coming weeks, but I also wanted to take the opportunity to provide a quick update on some high points of the session.

Legislative Highlights
Notable Bills Passed in the 32nd Legislature

House Bills
  • HB 10: Funter Bay Cemetery
    • Adds the Unangax̂ cemetery in Funter Bay to the Funter Bay marine park unit, preserving this important site in order to remember those who died and recognize the cemetery's social and historical significance.
  • HB 363: Broadband
    • This bill starts the once in a generation opportunity to get high quality, affordable broadband everywhere in Alaska. In alignment with the federal infrastructure bill, HB 363 creates a broadband office, an advisory board, and a broadband parity fund to bring all of Alaska into the 21st century.
  • HB 123: Tribal Recognition
    • Provides formal recognition of the state's 229 federally recognized Tribes, building stronger relationships between Alaska and its Tribes, and creating a roadmap for healing, wholeness, and restoration of all Alaska’s people and communities.
  • HB 265: Telehealth
    • Modernizes our health care system by extending telehealth provisions that became common place during the pandemic.  The bill ensures providers can continue to care for patients when they can't physically be together, and enables broader access to behavioral health and specialty care to patients across the state
  • HB 182: Fishery Resource Landing Tax Credit Extension
    • Renews the Community Development Quota (CDQ) tax credits that help fund scholarships, training, infrastructure and research that support the fishing industry in many of our coastal communities.
  • HB 184: Tribal Child Welfare Compact
    • Puts into law an agreement negotiated and ratified during the Walker administration in 2017.
  • HB 172: Crisis Now
    • At present, people experiencing mental health crises have the choice to go to jail, or to the emergency room. This bill creates crises intervention services to get people help during their time of need.
  • HB 322: AMHS, Higher Education Investment Fund
    • Establishes that the Alaska Marine Highway System Fund, the Vessel Replacement Fund, and the Higher Education Investment Fund are not subject to the annual accounting measure that returns most state funds to the Constitutional Budget Reserve.
  • HB 325: Definine Consent & Strengthen Domestic Violence Crimes
    • Modernizes Alaska’s laws related to sexual consent, and also includes nonconsensual sharing of explicit images in the state's domestic violence statutes. Image-based sexual abuse is a tactic used by perpetrators to harass, humiliate and cause harm to their victims. Linking these offenses to domestic violence laws offers victims crucial benefits and protections that they might not otherwise receive.
Senate Bills
  • SB 7: Public Access to State Trooper Policies
    • Requires the Department of Public Safety to clearly post their policies and procedures relating to the conduct of peace officers employed or regulated by the department on their website. These measures will enhance transparency and increase community trust.
  • SB 9: Reforming Alcohol Regulations
    • A major rewrite of statues from the 1980s governing the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board. Allows the board to function more efficiently as it regulates the alcohol industry in a manner that promotes public health and safety, while supporting the industry’s continued growth and viability in the current economic climate.
  • SB 34: State-Tribal Education Compact
    • Allows a pilot program for a small number of K-12 schools to be created under Tribal compacting in rural Alaska.
  • SB 81: VPSO
    • Implements recommendations from the VPSO Working Group and provides a 5% pay increase to help address recruitment and retention challenges in the VPSO program.
  • SB 243: Increased PCE Support 
    • Raises the amount of PCE eligible kilowatt-hours (kWh) for each residential customer from 500 to 750 kWh per month, bringing necessary relief to the communities that need it most.
Budget Highlights
Highlights from the FY23 Budget
  • $3,200 Permanent Fund Dividend (PFD) and Energy Relief to be distributed in October 2022
  • Full funding of the Community Assistance program
  • $700,000,000 of forward funding for K-12 education
  • Full funding for the Base Student Allocation (BSA), plus a $6,000,000 increase for the formula and $57,000,000 outside the formula
  • Full funding of School Bond Debt Reimbursement and REAA
  • Increased funding for PCE, raising support from 500 to 750 kWh per month
  • 10 new VPSO positions, and a 5% salary increase for VPSOs
  • Funds for airport improvements in Adak, Chignik, Dillingham, King Salmon, and Unalaska 
  • Federal infrastructure funding for: Broadband access, Village Safe Water expansion, and many more infrastructure projects
  • Funding for small boat harbors in False Pass, Akutan, and Unalaska
  • At least $660,000,000 in savings placed into the Statutory Budget Reserve Fund
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
Alaska House Coalition
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