June 29, 2020
Dear Friends and Neighbors,

July Fourth is coming up, and I know I’m not alone in looking forward to some festivities. In all our communities we want folks to enjoy the holiday, but we also need to keep in mind to celebrate safely.

Juneau has cancelled its parade this year, as has Gustavus, and in Juneau as of this writing there is still debate about going forward with a fireworks display.
Haines has arranged for a “reverse parade,” in which the floats will be stationary at the fairgrounds and families can view them as they cruise by in their cars.
Skagway is moving ahead with a variety of outdoor events but modified in a way to spread them around town so people can maintain social distancing.
All of these modifications are with good reason. As much as one-third of Alaskans are in high-risk categories for serious complications from COVID-19, and there is a risk every time you venture into public.
Remember to keep six feet of social distance and that wearing a mask protects not just you but also your fellow community members. And don’t forget that washing your hands frequently is highly effective at keeping the virus at bay. 
I wish everyone a happy Independence Day! But make sure it’s a safe day too.

I spent some time at my place in Craig fishing and spending time with my sister, Ellen (far left). Here we are with our friend Barb Schnider (center) on one of our daily two hour “walks.” 

CARES Act Fisheries Assistance Still in Development

Fifty million dollars of the federal CARES Act funding steered toward Alaska was earmarked for aid to fishery participants. While the legislature approved the appropriation more than a month ago, a plan for how the money will be distributed is not yet in place. Responsibility for developing the plan rests with the Department of Fish & Game, which in turn is coordinating with the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission (PSMFC) and NOAA. 

The latest news from ADF&G is that they are “working expeditiously” on the program, under broad guidance provided by NOAA Fisheries. A June 24th status update from the department includes information on general eligibility and a department contact for questions. 

You can go to the online update by clicking here

Note that it also includes a link for subscribing for future updates as the program develops. You can jump straight to that sign-up page by clicking here.

New COVID-19 Safety Protocols Announced by Alaska Marine Highway System

Last week the ferry system published some pretty strict guidelines for its ridership to keep passengers and crew safe during voyages.

They include a requirement for those boarding Alaska-bound ferries in Bellingham to be tested for COVID-19 within 72 hours of sailing.

Passengers boarding mainline ferries in Alaska for trips of more than 24 hours can either be tested within five days of departure or can sign a statement attesting they’ve been self-quarantined for the 14 days preceding the journey.

For those on mainline ferry for only short legs, no testing is required. For all riders and crew, masks are mandatory.

You can read the full guidelines here.

These protocols may seem onerous, however AMHS is following the strong advice of our state epidemiologists. Keeping the ferries virus-free will keep them in service, so these extra measures will benefit everyone. 

Process for Requesting Absentee Ballot Now Fully Online!
For the safety of Alaskans, the legislature authorized mail-in voting this year. However, the lieutenant governor has decided to keep in-person polling places open, at least for the August 18 primary election.
The good news is you do not have to be absent from Alaska to vote an absentee ballot, and absentee voting is voting by mail—a safe alternative to visiting a potentially crowed polling place.
While the Division of Elections will be sending absentee ballot request forms to registered voters aged 65 or older, I encourage voters of all ages to take this safer route. 
What’s more, you can complete the entire process online if you have a valid Alaska Driver’s License or state ID.
Note that with a single application you can request absentee ballots for both the August 18 primary and the November 3 general election.

Click here for the online portal.

On the subject of elections, tomorrow morning at 9:00 a.m. the House State Affairs Committee will be holding a hearing on Alaska’s Better Elections Initiative. This ballot initiative would overhaul the state’s election system by implementing ranked choice voting. Sponsors of the initiative and Democratic and Republican officials are invited to testify during the hearing.

You can watch the live stream by going to akl.tv.

Community Events
Echoes of War: Unangax Internment During WWII at the Juneau-Douglas City Museum tells the story of the Unangax internment camps in Southeast Alaska in the words of those who experienced it. Due to the pandemic, this exhibit will be on display through October 18th, 2021. 

Please visit the City Museum's website for more information on hours, admission prices, and safety protocols.
Register for the workshop here.
Be well!

Representative Sara Hannan
State Capitol
120 4th St, Rm 432
Juneau, AK 99801
(907) 465-4766

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Alaska State House Representative · 120 4th St Rm 403 · Juneau, AK 99801-1162 · USA

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