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CLIFF NOTES #32

Update on Legislation

Introducing HB 349

March 9th, 2024

Serving House District 18

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

Newsletter Topics:

  1. House Bill 349
  2. House Joint Resolution 9
  3. House Bill 249
  4. Veteran Service Officers
  5. Events in Anchorage


Last week I sent a hardcopy newsletter to everyone in the district! I hope these found you well and you enjoy the more in-depth update on whats been happening here in Juneau!

HB 349:

Leasing State Land for Renewable Energy Projects

We had a hearing this Friday on our bill to create a uniform statutory environment for renewable energy. All this bill would do is make it so there is parity between oil and gas and renewable energy project development. Right now, renewable projects have to be handled on a case-by-case basis by the state, discouraging investment. Alaska is on the verge of an energy shortage, costs are rising, and Alaska is largely dependent on a single energy source.


If we were to pass HB 349, Alaska would have an “all-of-the-above approach” to energy. Statutory certainty provides an attractive environment for private investment, meaning there are more players in the market resulting in more energy and lower rates for Alaskans. This bill doesn't guarantee new projects in the future, but it supports the market in favor of energy development.


Thank you to the Chair of the House Resources Committee, Representative Tom McKay, for hearing HB 349. I appreciate the opportunity to share the specifics of this bill.

My Chief of Staff, Cameron Ebersold (obscured), and I presenting HB 349 in front of the House Resources Committee.

There will be an opportunity to provide public testimony if you feel passionately about energy development or renewables, please give the Legislative Information Office a call on Monday at 1:00 pm.

HJR 9:

Constitutional Amendment Permanent Fund; POMV; Earnings

This is a constitutional amendment that I introduced last year. It would combine the Permanent Fund principle and the Permanent Fund Earnings Reserve Account into a single constitutionally protected account. The Legislature would be allowed to appropriate each year a maximum of 5% of the market value of the single account as calculated over the first five of the preceding six fiscal years. This would be a sustainable way to constitutionalize the Permanent Fund.

The Permanent Fund’s Board of Trustees have recommended this change since 2003 and it was urged by the Fiscal Policy Working Group in a 2021 report.

It was first heard in the House Ways & Means Committee on March 11th of 2023. This Wednesday it was heard for the second time in Ways & Means and we will see what happens next!


As some of you may know, the past few weeks there has been a resolution (HJR 7) on the Floor to constitutionalize the Permanent Fund Dividend.

HJR 9 is a sustainable and comprehensive way of constitutionalizing the Permanent Fund. 

House Minority Leader Representative Calvin Schrage (left) and me on the floor discussing HJR 7

Update on HB 249:

Military & Veteran Family Help Desk

HB 249 (not to be confused with HB 349) has moved out of the Military & Veteran Affairs Special Committee. The bill received unanimous Do Pass recommendations from the members present. The bill's next stop is the House Finance Committee. Meanwhile, Senator Kawasaki of Fairbanks has introduced a Senate companion (SB 207), which was already heard in Senate State Affairs. The Senate version of the bill also received unanimous Do Pass recommendations from the committee! The response and movement on this bill has been amazing. I am so happy that the legislature is excited to improve services for our veterans, military members and their families. I will continue to keep you updated on the bill's progress.



Veteran Service Officers

In the Department Finance Subcommittee for Military & Veteran Affairs I moved an amendment that would increase funding to the grant that pays for Veteran Service Officers (VSO) in Alaska. This grant has not received an increase since 2012, and after 12 years of record inflation, it has impacted their ability to deliver services to our veterans.

My original amendment was a $400,000 increment - which would allow their pay to keep up with inflation. In the subcommittee, this request was further amended by Rep Rauscher (Sutton) down to $186,000. The subcommittee accepted the increase of $186,000 and closed out, sending its suggestions for appropriations to the House Finance Committee.

I'm glad we increased the grant, but I don't think that $186k is sufficient. After all, it has to account for 12 years of inflation across 17 officers. This is not our last chance and so for now, the increase of $186,000 to VSOs is a win.

Events in Anchorage!


Today, Saturday the 9th:


Anchorage Delegation Town Hall at

UAA Campus Cuddy Hall from 2-4 pm

Press to view Facebook event for Town Hall

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

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


I hope to see you there!


I apologize for an earlier E-newsletter that said there would be Shakes & Cakes on March 8th. It is today, Saturday, March 9th. I hope to see you all there!

Friends, neighbors, I hope you are all having a good start to your March!



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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