Dear Neighbor,

Renewable energy legislation (SB 101, Sen. Tobin / HB 121, Rep. Sumner) are among the most important bills we will consider this session. Utilities’ constructive engagement on renewable energy legislation is critically important, so I’m writing with a reminder to VOTE in the Chugach Board elections. If you are a Chugach cooperative member, you should have received a ballot by email. If you are a member but didn't receive a ballot, you can call Chugach customer service at (907) 563-7494 to request help getting your ballot.

Renewable Energy Legislation:

We face a pressing need to deploy more renewable energy. Hilcorp, which produces natural gas from Cook Inlet, has informed utilities it will no longer be able to meet gas demand as supply contracts come up for renewal over the next seven years. A gas shortage from Cook Inlet will result in growing reliance on imported Liquified Natural Gas (LNG), except that deployment of renewable generation can reduce need for imported gas. Simply put, the more renewable energy we deploy now, the more we protect consumers from what will otherwise be massive price increases for both electricity and heat. 

How much difference can renewable energy make in protecting consumers and keeping Alaska competitive? The impact could be significant. Wind generation proposals from a single company could reduce gas demand by 1/3, ensuring Alaskans continue to have access to relatively affordable gas heat while shifting to more affordable renewable generation for electricity. Multiple small scale hydroelectric projects as well as utility-scale and rooftop solar opportunities can further insulate consumers from what would otherwise be devastating price increases from imported LNG.

What can you do? If you support Renewable Portfolio Standard legislation, please email and your support for SB 101 and HB 121. You can also just email me and I’ll make sure your comments get in the record. Don’t hesitate to call or email me for additional background on this important legislation.

Bring the Kids Home:

In December, the U.S. Department of Justice released a horrifying report about abuse of Alaska children being placed in out-of-state, for-profit psychiatric institutions. Placement of children in these institutions is largely a result of the state’s inability to provide appropriate behavioral health services in our communities. This week, I introduced HB 167, which prohibits placement of children in for-profit, out-of-state institutions. The record makes clear such institutions have a long record of abuse and cannot have proper oversight due to their distance from Alaska. I hope HB 167 serves as a vehicle to not only prohibit such abusive placement, but also strengthen our systems of behavioral health care in state. I know many of you have experience in this area so if you have guidance or suggestions on this legislation please reach out.


After the House passed a budget with a very large dividend but inadequate funding for human services for education, I wrote an op-ed about what the budget would look like if it reflected Alaskans’ values. Thanks to everyone who’s been calling in to Senate Finance this week to testify on the budget. I’m optimistic the Senate will send back a balanced budget to the House for consideration. In the meantime, all caucuses have met with the Governor to consider his views on passing new revenue and other elements of a fiscal plan. I would certainly like to vote on revenue measures. While I don’t support raising taxes to pay for bigger dividends, I do think some targeted revenue measures could provide greater stability in funding during periods of volatile oil prices.  

Civil Rights:

Next week the House Community and Regional Affairs Committee will have an opportunity to pass Rep. Armstrong’s non-discrimination bill, HB 99 (I’m a cosponsor). Thanks to everyone who’s weighed in on this bill to date. 

In contrast, I’ve heard a lot of concern from constituents about HB 105, the bill that would impede public safety education in schools and discriminate against transgender children. There will be another opportunity to testify on this bill Monday at 8am in the House Education Committee; to testify call (907) 563-9085 or email Co-Chair Justin Ruffridge

Thank you for your continued advocacy during the session,


Representative Zack Fields - House District 17

Serving Downtown, South Addition, Forest Park, North Star, and Fairview