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CLIFF NOTES #33

What happened with education funding this week...

March 22th, 2024

Serving House District 18

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

Newsletter Topics:

  1. Senate Bill 140 & Joint Session to Override Governor's Veto
  2. Senate Bill 207: Military & Veteran Help Desk Companion
  3. Women's History Month


SB 140:

Joint Session to Override the Governor's Veto

On March 14th, Governor Dunleavy vetoed Senate Bill 140. Originally the bill passed by a combined vote of 56 to 3, demonstrating overwhelming bipartisan support. This legislation included a long overdue increase to the Base Student Allocation (BSA) to provide funding for public schools, additional resources to help kids struggling to read, and provisions to get federal dollars to bring modern broadband speeds to rural Alaska.  SB 140 also included expanded support for public schools and additional funds for homeschooling, and a statewide charter school coordinator to help communities establish their own. This bill was a multipart compromise education package that had something for everyone in it. And it was vetoed.


The Legislature held, on March 18th, a joint session to vote on overriding the Governor’s veto. The Alaska House Coalition (also known as the House Minority) rallied our spirits and came in on Monday morning ready to override that veto. The result was a travesty for Alaskan families. The veto override failed by one vote to meet the constitutional 40-vote requirement (two-thirds of the Legislature) to overturn a Governor’s veto on a policy matter and thus make the bill law. Seventeen legislators flipped from their original “Yes” votes last month to vote “No” this week and kill this bill. I am proud that all 16 members of the caucus I'm in voted to stand up for public education and vote to override the veto. 

This failure to override hurts our kids and their parents, and it disproportionately hurts kids in rural schools. It makes a tough job even harder for the educators who work so hard to teach our kids. This failure also damages our economy, as the continued decline of our public schools due to seven years of flat funding is making our state a less attractive place to live and to move to.


Now the fight doesn't end here. We could still pass another education bill, but it has been made clear that unless the Governor's priorities are in that bill, it won't pass into law. We could also still allocate funds in the budget for education, but it was only this past summer he vetoed half of last year's one time funding increase. Either way, I will keep fighting to give Alaskans the good schools that we deserve, and the Alaska Constitution requires that the State of Alaska provide.

A selfie the House Minority Coalition took before the joint session to override the governor's veto. We were all dressed in red for ed and excited about the possibility of passing SB 140.

SB 207:

Military & Veteran Family Help Desk

Senate Bill 207 is the Senate companion bill to HB 249 that I introduced to create a help desk within the Department of Military & Veterans' Affairs to be a single point of access for veterans, military members, and their families to find resources and information from the State of Alaska.


I would like to thank Senator Kawasaki for carrying the Senate companion bill. He and his staff have done an amazing job getting movement on this legislation. It was heard for the first time on February 8th in the Senate Committee on Community & Regional Affairs and was recommended Do-Pass by all members present. It then went to the Senate Finance Committee this Tuesday, March 19th, and the Senator and his staff did a fantastic job presenting the bill!

Senator Kawasaki

Op-Ed: Alaska's Future is Energy Diversity

This week the Anchorage Daily News published an opinion piece I wrote regarding our incoming energy crisis. You can read it here but in summary:


"We need to think broadly and creatively to deal with this energy challenge. Resource extraction will always be in the picture, but oil and gas can’t save us alone. Alaska needs energy of all types, including oil and gas and renewables such as wind, hydro, solar, tidal, geothermal and biomass. If we can solve our energy crisis today, we can communicate to the world that Alaska is a good place to produce all kinds of energy."

Women's History Month

March is Women's History Month, and I want to highlight an amazing part of Alaska's history. The photo to the right is Nellie Cashman, a miner and businesswoman from Nolan, Alaska who is credited as being the first woman to vote in an Alaska-wide election in 1912. This was a year before the first legislature of the newly formed territory of Alaska passed its first bill, House Bill 2, which gave white women the right to vote in Alaska. March 21st was the 111th anniversary of the passage of this bill. This was seven years before the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution giving women the right to vote nationwide. Alaska Native women didn’t gain the right to vote until 1924 with the passage of the Indian Citizenship Act.


This is just a small example of how Alaska has been a trendsetter in legislation since it was a territory. We need to continue making big strides for Alaskans.

Upcoming Events in Anchorage!


Next Saturday, March 30th:

Lucky Wishbone from 12-2 pm

Kava's Pancake House from 5-7 pm

Friends, neighbors, I hope this week is treating you okay and Happy Spring Equinox!



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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