Breast Cancer Prevention:
Following discussions with the Susan G. Komen Foundation, I introduced legislation (HB 285) to ensure full insurance coverage (without cost sharing, deductibles, or copays) of diagnostic breast exams. Unfortunately, the costs of such exams appear to be discouraging utilization by working-class women, and the goal of this legislation is to ensure prompt detection and treatment of breast cancer.
Parental Leave Legislation Advances:
I’m happy to share that HB 100 (by Rep Armstrong; I’m a cosponsor) has passed from the House Labor and Commerce Committee. I appreciate Chairman Jesse Sumner’s work in advancing this bill quickly. It would establish paid parental and family leave for state employees and make such leave available to the University, local governments, school districts, and private employers. This bill would help reverse outmigration and is necessary to make Alaska a great place to raise a family. It would also reduce infant mortality, improve children’s health, and help drive down state insurance costs.
Pension Reform Advances
Congratulations to Senate Majority Leader Cathy Giessel, whose legislation to restore defined benefit pensions for public employees (SB 88) just passed the state senate. The passage of this bill, BSA education funding, and energy are my caucus’s highest priorities.