Alaska State House Passes Senate Bill 140
 
Last night, after many days of negotiations and deliberation, the Alaska State House was able to pass a bipartisan education funding package on a 38-2 vote.

This bill included a $680 increase to the base student allocation (BSA) formula, which is the single largest increase to the BSA formula in history - but still much lower than what is needed for our school district budgets to catch up to inflation. 

There were many other items included in the version of SB 140 that was passed by the House, including:
  • Funding to help students achieve the requirements under the Alaska READS Act.
  • Provides funding to help eligible schools reach 100 Mbps internet speeds through the School Broadband Assistance Grant.
  • Mechanism for a charter school whose contract was terminated by the local school board to appeal the decision.
  • Creating a new charter school coordinator position that will provide support to charter schools in Alaska. 
  • Increased funding for student transportation.
  • Increased funding for correspondence programs.
This was a compromise bill that did not include everything that we wanted, but it contains many positive elements that will benefit our students. 

 
 
HB 107 Public Testimony
House Bill 107, from Rep. Kevin McCabe (R-Big Lake), is taking public testimony on Monday, 2/26, in the House Judiciary Committee. This bill creates an extremely broad definition of "person" in criminal statute, and is intended to define life as beginning at the moment of conception.

This bill could lead the prosecution of abortion providers; there could be ramifications for in vitro fertilization (like we are seeing in Alabama); this bill could violate the constitutional right to reproductive autonomy and privacy that Alaskans enjoy. 

Please call in on Monday from 1-3 PM if you are available to testify! 
 
Estonian Independence Day
On February 24th, Estonia will be celebrating 106 years of independence. Estonia is close to my heart and is a country I once called home. 
I spoke to the deep connection and friendship between Estonia and the United States, and reaffirmed our commitment to the Estonian people as fellow NATO allies. 
Palju õnne vabariigi aastapäevaks, Estonia! Please listen to my speech on the House floor below.
 
East Anchorage Book Club Podcast

Last week, I spoke with Ed Wesley and Shenee Williams from Shiloh Community Housing, an Anchorage organization that is dedicated to providing affordable housing, life skills, financial literacy, and more to low-income individuals in the community. They are both also community leaders in their own right, and I spoke to them about their lives and accomplishments over the years.


Link to episode
 
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