With passage of my legislation, House Bill 96, the legislature not only reversed the administration’s massive rate hikes, but also provided stability and predictability for residents by limiting future rate increases to inflation. We also updated the levels of care to reflect the need for dementia care, and lowered the eligible age of entry to 60 in an effort to maintain diversity within the Pioneer Homes. My thanks go to Senate President Cathy Giessel and Representative Laddie Shaw for their crucial roles in passing this bill and protecting our seniors.
Built budgets that honor the sanctity of human life
One of my top priorities was ensuring the budgets that came out of the House reflected Alaskans’ values. I’m proud that we rejected massive proposed cuts to Pre-K, K-12 education, Medicaid health coverage, public radio, ferries, the university, Public Defender Agency, guardians for foster kids and vulnerable seniors, Ocean Rangers, local agriculture and mariculture. By re-passing the budget last year, we ultimately prevailed in restoring most cuts made by the Governor’s initial vetoes. Many of these budget items are life or death, whether it’s the emergency services provided by public radio in rural communities, or Medicaid health coverage for our kids, seniors, and hard-working families. We did all this while remaining within the structured draw of the POMV, which is essential to protect the Permanent Fund itself and all Alaskans’ savings which grow in that fund.
Protected Alaska Apprenticeships
The legislature protected skilled trade apprenticeships in statute with the passage of HB 308, ensuring that our world-class construction training programs cannot be unraveled by executive branch regulatory overreach.
Expanded Re-Entry Programs to Fight Crime
With inclusion of HB 118 in HB 49 (comprehensive anti-crime legislation), and oversight to ensure the administration re-opens Palmer Correctional Center, we have made major progress toward improving rehabilitation within DOC facilities and reentry programs as inmates re-enter society.
Blocked Prison Privatization
While improving reentry programs, robust legislative oversight led by the State Affairs Committee forced the administration to cancel its corrupt prison privatization effort that started when Donna Arduin was head of OMB.
Canceled No-Bid Contracts
Because of persistent oversight from the State Affairs Committee which I co-chair with Representative Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins, the administration had to cancel a massive no-bid contract for a family member of the Governor’s largest campaign donor, and had to cancel its permanent privatization of API contract with Wellpath thanks to the House Health and Social Services Committee for partnership on this.