I want to address one of the most urgent challenges we are working through in the Health and Social Services Committee. Due to a severe IT support deficit and old COBOL system, our state is experiencing a SNAP backlog and DPA crisis. As a result, it takes more than one hour to manually process a single application. Individuals and families in our community are going hungry. My team and I are working hard to help people expedite their applications and consider possible immediate solutions, like hiring additional certification specialists and waiving eligibility requirements every 6 months. One thing you can do to help is to support our local food pantries, which are experiencing a statewide shortage of food.
In the Transportation Committee, we have heard interesting presentations regarding the Alaska Highway and Marine Highway Systems, and the Railroad. At the local level, I signed a letter supporting the Russian Jack Bike Path, which we were able to get through thanks to help from Steve Cleary approving municipal funding for this, thanks, Steve! This week I also signed a letter supporting a bike path along Windy Corner, which would enable a separate path for cyclists between Potter Marsh and Indian along the Seward Highway.
Lastly, my team and I have completed our bill packet for HB 23, which will recognize October as Filipino American History Month. Thanks to everyone who submitted a letter of support! We also submitted a hearing request for HJR 4, which honors the Alaska-Korea relationship. The initial hearing for HJR 4 will be at 1pm on Tuesday, February 28 in the House Special Committee on Military and Veterans Affairs.