I’m writing to invite you to the annual Anchorage Caucus public input meeting this Sunday,
March 4, from 2-4pm at Rasmuson Hall on the University of Alaska Anchorage campus.
This is an opportunity to testify to Anchorage area legislators about your budget and legislative priorities. Here are some other legislative updates:
Senate Leaders Introduces Pension Reform:
Senate President Gary Stevens, Majority Leader Cathy Giessel, Rules Chair Bill Wielechowski, Labor and Commerce Chair Jesse Bjorkman, and Finance Members Kelly Merrick and Jesse Kiehl held a press conference this week announcing legislation to restore a defined benefit pension option for all public employees. Senator Giessel is the prime sponsor of this bill, and Senator Bjorkman promised quick action to begin vetting the bill. Along with a BSA increase, this is by far the most important issue we need to address this session.
House Coalition Urges Faster Progress on BSA, Pension Reform:
Representatives Schrage, Story, Carrick, Galvin and I held a press conference this week urging faster action to get BSA and defined benefit legislation to the House floor. Read more in the ADN.
We made major progress on child care this week as the Labor and Commerce Committee unanimously advanced my bill, HB 46. In addition, Reps. Coulombe, Armstrong and I introduced a bipartisan child care reform bill, HB 89. These bills are complementary, and contain the following policy options:
HB 46: Sectoral bargaining, child care trust fund, employer tax credits
HB 89: Expand number of families eligible for child care subsidies, update subsidy rates to reflect real cost of care
Now both these bills await action in the Health and Social Services Committee, which largely has overlapping membership with Labor and Commerce. I appreciate the strong bipartisan support these members and Labor and Commerce Chair Jesse Sumner have shown in prioritizing child care this session.