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CLIFF NOTES #30

Funding our

Students

February 24th, 2024

Serving House District 18

Government Hill; JBER; parts of North Muldoon, Downtown, Fairview, and Mountain View

Newsletter Topics: This week has been absolutely wild with everything that has happened on the floor. You'll find updates on Senate Bill 140 on Broadband Access Grants, as well as House Joint Resolution 7, a Constitutional Amendment for the Permanent Fund Dividend

We have Increased the BSA in the House!


Senate Bill 140, the main education bill debated so far this session was brought to the house floor on Monday. I've talked about this bill throughout the session and there have been rallies, both online and in front of the capitol.

Originally SB 140 was to provide broadband access to rural Alaskan schools. The House Rules Committee created another version which became an omnibus of majority policy that was unvetted and had an unknown fiscal impact.

On Monday there was a vote to adopt the Rules Committee version of this bill and it failed, against the Majorities best effort. The House Finance committee had a substitute that included a BSA raise and an increase to broadband access but on Wednesday that version failed to be taken up, so we went back to debating the original Senate Bill.


After much debate, Thursday night, SB 140 passed the House in a 38-2 vote. The bill includes a $680 BSA increase, broadband access for schools, a new support position for charter schools, as well as money for correspondence schools and the Alaska Reads Act. People have called this historic, and it is cause for celebration, but I want to make sure that we recognize the fight isn’t over. Our schools still need more, and I am insanely proud to stand with and for our students.

Students from Bartlett High School were in the Peratrovich gallery Wednesday afternoon to watch the debate on SB 140. They were visiting the Capitol with Educators Rising, a national club for future teachers. I'm glad they got to show their support for increasing funding to students. They specifically said that they want to see more electives.


From left to right: Sam, Veronica, Shi (obscured), Sarah, Isabelle, Landon, & Chance Matsuoka (teacher).

The Permanent Fund Dividend


House Joint Resolution 7 was scheduled to be on the floor this week, but with everything that happened with SB 140, it has not yet been heard. It is a proposed constitutional amendment that would guarantee a Permanent Fund dividend annually.

I will be voting for it to pass because I believe in providing a dividend to Alaskans. However, this resolution is inadequate on its own! The only way to protect the dividend forever is to have a fiscal plan with new revenue measures, and a modern, sustainable dividend formula.

I am prepared with multiple amendments to make sure that if the constitutional amendment were to pass, there would be safeguards for the Permanent Fund, and the State.


There will be more to come on this resolution.

Underfunded Veteran Service Officers


A Veteran Service Officer (VSO) is a trained professional who provides free, professional assistance to veterans and their families in obtaining disability benefits and healthcare.

Alaska's VSOs are paid through a grant administered by the Office of Veterans Affairs. I recently found out that the last time this grant was updated was 2012 - which means in the last twelve years, amidst record high inflation, VSOs have received pay cuts every year. This is impacting their ability to continue delivering services.


To keep up with the costs of inflation and set the Veteran Service Officers up for success, we need to raise this grant to an adequate amount because the work they do is insurmountable.

From left to right:

Mark Johnson, Veteran Service Officer; 

Jerry M. Pattison, VP of Vietnam Veterans of America’s (VVA)Alaska State Council; 

Craig J. Wade, President of VVA's Alaska State Council;

Tom Stoelting, Treasurer of VVA’s Alaska State Council

All of the personal bills of the 33rd Legislature are in!


The bills & resolutions I've introduced:


2023:

HB 153: Oil & Gas Property Tax

HJR 9: Const. Am: Permanent Fund; POMV; Earnings


2024:

HB 249: Military & Veteran Family Help Desk

HCR 10: Permanent Fund Committee; Uniform Rules

HB 349: Renewable Energy Project Leases

HJR 23: Const. Am: Minimum Veto Spending Limit

HB 348: Minimum Veto Amount Formula


Don't worry, there will be more information to come on these bills!

View my bills on BASIS!

Events in Anchorage!


Today, Saturday the 24th

I will be at Lucky Wishbone from 12-2 pm,

as well as at Kava's Pancake House from 5-7 pm.


I hope to see you there!

Friends, neighbors, I hope the wind has gotten better in Anchorage and that you're all staying warm and safe.



All the best,

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- Proudly Serving House District 18 -

(Government Hill, JBER, and parts of North Muldoon, Downtown, Fairview, and Mountain View)

Cameron Ebersold

Chief of Staff

Email: Cameron.Ebersold@akleg.gov

Sophie Weiser

Staff

Email: Sophie.Weiser@akleg.gov



Office: 907-465-4998

Fax: 907-269-0229


LIO.Anchorage@akleg.gov




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