In this issue
  • 3rd special session adjourns: $1,100 dividend
  • Governor calls 4th special session on fiscal plan forthcoming
  • Conquer COVID-19: Vaccination resources and information
  • Virtual constituent meeting Saturday, Sept. 18th at 10:00am
  • Rent and utility assistance available statewide
  • Ranked choice voting is coming to Alaska - how will it work?
  • East-side Constituent Highlight and Direct Support Professional recognition week
Third Special Session ends with $1,100 PFD
Rep. Spohnholz speaks to the importance of flexibilities for health care providers during the pandemic on on the House Floor, (September 12, 2021).
$1,100 PFD
Before adjourning on Tuesday, the legislature funded a $1,110 PFD for the second time this year. Governor Dunleavy has signed it into law which means Alaskans can count on a dividend to be paid in October. This is great news for Alaskans, but in order to prevent us from experiencing this uncertainty again, we need to agree upon a sustainable fiscal plan.

Health care bill dies
SB 3006 - relating to temporary telehealth and background check flexibilities for our hospitals failed to pass on Sunday after it was amended in ways that health care providers believe would actually make the current surge worse. At that point the bill was sent back to the Rules Committee and never made it back to the floor. We simply cannot allow politicians to make our health care situation worse than it already is.

Both yesterday and today, over 1,000 Alaskans tested positive for COVID and our hospitals have record numbers of over 200 patients hospitalized for COVID. Health care providers are past the edge of their ability to provide safe care for Alaskans who need hospital care.

There are simple measures we know effectively reduce the spread of COVID. Governor Dunleavy should institute a statewide mask mandate which would allow our schools and businesses to continue to safely operate while slowing the spread of COVID-19. You can call Governor Dunleavy at 907-465-3500 to urge him to issue a statewide mask mandate.

4th Special Session
Governor Dunleavy called a fourth special session to address a sustainable fiscal plan that begins October 1st. I am encouraged by this action and look forward to taking on this important work next month.
Conquer COVID-19 - Doing our part
In the meantime, every Alaskan needs to do their part to slow the spread the COVID by:
  • wearing a mask when with people outside of their households, regardless of vaccination status;
  • and getting vaccinated.
These are proven public health measures which will reduce community spread of COVID-19

Have questions about the COVID-19 vaccine?
You can get factual, up to date information about the COVID-19 vaccine from the US Centers for Disease Control. Additionally, if you need assistance in finding a provider or setting up your appointment, visit the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services' online resource, or call (907) 646-3322 for support.
Get Vaccinated
To find a vaccine provider in your community go to covidvax.alaska.gov for more information. You can also call the Vaccine Helpline at 1-833-482-9547 for help, or text your zip code to 438829 to find vaccine sites near you.
Every Alaskan who gets vaccinated is eligible to enter a drawing to win $49,000 cash. Two winners will be selected every week. Kids ages 12-17 will be eligible for a $49,000 scholarship. Visit givenakashot.com for more details and to enter to win.
Virtual Constituent Meeting this Saturday at 10:00am
Join me this Saturday, September 18th at 10:00am on my official legislative Facebook page or on Zoom for a live update. This month I will provide an update on the on the adjournment of the third special session, COVID-19, progress towards a fiscal plan, and PFD's for Alaskans.

You can RSVP to the event here and share it on Facebook, or register online to join this month's meeting by Zoom. I hope to see you there!
Applications Open for Rent and Utility Assistance:
Apply anytime between now and October 1st
Feeling the pinch and worried you won't be able to pay your rent? Applications are currently open for up to three months of rent and/or utility assistance. Payments go directly to landlords and utility operators.

Visit alaskahousingrelief.org to determine eligibility and apply online. Applications are due by October 1st.
Ranked Choice Voting at the Next General Election:
How it Works
In the 2020 General Election, voters approved an initiative to establish a nonpartisan top four open primary election system and a ranked choice voting general election system. Moving forward, there will be many changes to how we vote and how elections look in Alaska. Click on the video to see how Ranked Choice Voting works.
 
Ranked choice voting allows voters to rank candidates in order of preference. In the 2020 general election, voters approved an initiative to establish a Ranked Choice Voting general election system.
 
How does Ranked Choice Voting work?
  • In each race, voters will rank their choices in order of preference. The top four candidates who advanced from the primary election will appear on the ballot. Voters can vote for a write-in candidate by adding that candidate on their ballot and including that candidate in the ranking. For a candidate to win, they must receive a majority (50% + 1) of total votes cast. If no candidate receives a majority of votes in the first round of counting, more rounds of counting continue until a candidate reaches a majority. This is what happens:
 
How are votes counted in Round 1?
  • The Division of Elections only counts the vote for your 1st choice candidate.
  • If a candidate receives more than 50% of first-choice votes, that candidate wins.
  • If no candidate wins in Round 1, the counting goes to Round 2.
 
How are votes counted in Round 2 and subsequent rounds?
  • The last place candidate in Round 1 is eliminated from the count and the Division of Elections allocates their supporter’s 2nd choice selections to the remaining candidates on the ballot. This vote redistribution process continues until one candidate reaches over 50% of the votes cast. In each round of counting, each voter gets one vote.
 
As time goes on, the Division of Elections informational webpage will be updated to include additional educational tools to help prepare you for voting in both new election systems. 

East Side Shining Star:
Barbara Rodriguez-Rath
September 12th-18th is Direct Support Professional (DSP) Recognition week, and I can't think of a better way to celebrate individuals who support people living with disabilities in our community than by honoring the CEO of the Arc of Anchorage, Barbara Rodriguez-Rath.

Yesterday I had the pleasure of surprising Rodriguez-Rath with a legislative honorarium recognizing her years of service to our community.

Barbara is an east sider and homegrown leader. After she graduated from Bartlett High, she went on to earn a Bachelor's from UAF and masters degree from UAA both in social work. She has worked with vulnerable Alaskans and service providers since 1999. It is always a joy to see the incredible accomplishments of Alaskan-grown leaders. Go Bears and Seawolves!
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) 269-0123
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