In this issue:
  • Alaska State Legislature adjourns regular session
  • Governor calls Special Sessions
  • Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month and Anti-Racism Resources
  • Alaska ARPA Resource
  • Top 40 Under 40: Heidi Hupport
  • Free Anchorage Summer Disposal Pass
  • Vacancies on Alaska Boards and Commissions
  • Upcoming Community Council Meetings
End of the Regular Session
Rep. Spohnholz speaking on the House Floor on May 19, 2021.
The budget process moved slowly this year. The House organized one month late but we were still on track to get it done in time. However, the delay was mostly driven by the fact that we continue to have a structural fiscal gap.

This year that fiscal gap will be filled, largely, by American Rescue Plan Act funds. The State of Alaska is going to receive more than one billion in fairly flexible funds which can be used to balance our budget. The guidance on how those funds can be spent didn’t get released until May 10th.

In the end, the House passed the operating budget on May 10th and the Senate passed it on May 19th. Now the budget has to go to conference committee to reconcile and sort out the differences between the two budgets. We need to move quickly to get that done by the end of the month to avoid pink slips and a government shut down on July 1.

Further, we need to permanently solve the fiscal gap so that our state can have the fiscal certainty we all need. Pink slips, layoffs and budget cuts have resulted in Alaska losing 50,000 people in net out-migration over the last eight years.

Failure to solve our fiscal gap risks the future health of the Permanent Fund and our economy. A lawsuit is expected if legislators go above the Permanent Fund’s spending cap.
See the details of the letter threatening the lawsuit here.
Governor calls Special Sessions
To finish the budget and address Alaska's fiscal gap, Governor Dunleavy has called the legislature into two special sessions.

The first special session began May 20, 2021 focused on:
  • the operating budget,
  • Permanent Fund dividend (PFD), and
  • a constitutional amendment adding the PFD and Power Cost Equalization to Alaska's constitution.

In his updated proposal, Governor Dunleavy is proposing taking an additional $3 billion from the Permanent Fund to pay for government over the next couple of years. After that he hopes that oil revenue will be high enough to pay for government.

However, hope is not a real strategy.

The second special session begins on August 2, 2021 and focuses on:
  • Constitutional amendment updating Alaska's spending cap (HJR 6/SJR 5)
  • Constitutional amendment requiring voter approval for new state taxes (HJR 8/SJR 7),
  • Federal relief funds, including American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds, and
  • Potential measures to increase state revenues.
Celebrate AAPI Month and Support Anti-Racism
In May we celebrate Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month. Our state has long history of AAPI Alaskans, dating back to the first record of Filipinos arriving in Alaska in 1788. With over 10% of Alaskans identifying as AAPI, there are countless cultural groups that enrich Alaska's communities. However, embracing our AAPI Alaskans also means combatting racism against the AAPI community. I'd like to bring attention to a couple of the following local resources on AAPI racism:

Finally, if you are a witness or a victim of a hate crime, I encourage you to report these crimes. Under federal civil rights law (Title 18, U.S.C., Section 245), a hate crime is any act intended to cause injury because of a person’s race, color, religion or national origin while they are:
  • Applying or enrolled as a student at a public school or college.
  • Receiving services from state or local government.
  • Applying or performing a private or state job, or joining a labor union.
  • Serving as jurors in state court.
  • Traveling on public transportation.
  • Staying at a hotel, motel or eating at a restaurant.

It is also a hate crime to threaten or interfere with anyone who helps another who engages in these activities. Public reporting helps law enforcement better understand and prosecute hate-based crimes in our communities.

Hate crimes can be reported to the following agencies and organizations:

  • U.S. Department of Justice (206) 220-6700
  • Municipality of Anchorage Equal Rights Commission: (907) 343-4342
  • Anchorage Community Police Relations Task Force: (907) 343-4342
  • Alaska State Commission for Human Rights: (907) 274-4692
  • American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) 276-2258
  • Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI): or (907) 276-4441
Alaska American Rescue Plan Act Information
The Alaska Municipal League (AML) has launched a new website all about the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). This website is a one-stop resource for:
  • Tracking ARPA funds coming into the state
  • Federal and state guidance and other information
  • Loans and grants for businesses and non-profits

This clearinghouse for ARPA resources, guidance, and grant opportunities may will be a useful tool for local and tribal governments, as well as other recipients of federal relief, from schools and the university to hospitals, businesses and nonprofits.
House District 16 Highlight: Heidi Hupport
Congratulations to Heidi Hupport, Chief Program Officer at Alaska Covenant House, and a member of this year's Top Forty Under 40.
The Alaska Journal of Commerce announced their Top Forty Under 40 which recognized some of Alaska's best and brightest young professionals including:

  • Jeremy Conkling, 39, President, Anchorage Police Department Employees Association
  • former House Representative John Lincoln, 39, VP of External Affairs, NANA Regional Corp., Kotzebue
  • Tessa Walker Linderman, 36, Co-Lead Alaska Vaccine Task Force, State of Alaska, Anchorage
  • Christina Love, 34, Senior Specialist, Alaska Network on Domestic Violence and Assault, Juneau

I want to extend a huge congratulations to all of those recognized but I want to give a special shout out to Heidi Huppert who lives in House District 16 in East Anchorage. She is the Chief Program Officer for the Covenant House where she has worked for over 21 years - mentoring countless youth in our community.

Heidi is an inspiring leader for our youth as a role model with lived experience in homelessness. You can learn about her story in this inspiring piece she wrote about her journey. Her journey reminds us that we should never overlook anyone for an opportunity to make their lives better. She went from being a homeless youth to being one of the top leaders in addressing youth homelessness in Alaska. Congratulations Heidi!
Apply for Alaska Boards and Commissions
At any given time, approximately 1200 Alaskans are serving on over 135 boards and commissions. Alaska’s boards and commissions relate to nearly every industry and interest, and have varying levels of demands, functions, authority, and involvement. In an average year, the Governor makes 200 to 300 appointments. The majority of these appointments are volunteer positions and are usually eligible for standard travel expenses and per diem for official business.

Apply for a Board Appointment
The Boards and Commissions office actively recruits, interviews, and vets board candidates throughout the year. All Alaskans are encouraged to apply for service on a board or commission. Applications can be submitted at anytime.

Boards and Commissions contact information:
550 West 7th Avenue, Suite 1700
Anchorage, AK 99501
Phone: (907) 269-0006
Fax: (907) 269-7463
I'm Here for You!
Feel free to give me a call or send me a message anytime, I would be happy to hear from you.
Phone Number: (907) 465-4940
Stay in Touch and Stay Engaged
(202) 224-6665

(202) 224-3004

(202) 225-5765

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