January 15th, 2018
Dear Friends and Neighbors,
We’re Back in Juneau!
Now that session has started, my staff and I are back in our state’s capitol and are ready to hit the ground running, for you! I hope the last few weeks have been good for you and your family, and that your 2019 has been off to a great start. The kids have been back in school from winter break for a couple weeks now, and the snow has been falling all over. A few days ago, it snowed 18 inches in Juneau!
This session is expected to be one of the most difficult with important decisions about our economy. Governor Dunleavy has stated his plan to cut $1.6 billion from the Operating Budget. When I look at where those proposed cuts may come from, I become very concerned. I expect big proposed cuts to Medicaid, the University, and other important social safety net programs. With recent articles discussing how we are in the second year of net migration out of the state now is the time to chart a real plan for the future. When I talk with colleagues on both sides of the aisle I hear these same concerns echoed. With Medicaid, for example, the federal funds are critical to covering services and keeping clinics and hospitals open. We can’t have a state where the only hospitals are in our two major cities. Your voice will be so important as these proposals are considered. Legislators need to know the real impact of the cuts, not just the sound bites.
As always, my staff and I are here for you! If you have any questions about the legislative session, about any pieces of legislation that are being introduced, or questions about our neighborhoods, please reach out to us at (907) 465-3424 or send an email to me at Rep.Geran.Tarr@akleg.gov. Hope to hear from you soon!
My 2019 Legislation:
The 2019 session is going to be a whirlwind, I can already feel it. We have a new administration, new senators, new representatives, from all different sides of the political spectrum. We have many differences, but the one thing we have in common is our desire to do more for our state and our communities. We all know that Alaskans deserve the best, that’s why I, along with the members of our caucus are committed to setting aside our differences to come together to work, and work hard, for our constituents. This year, I’ve pre-filed a few pieces of legislation like:
House Bill 20: The second part to last year’s Rape Kit Reform, this bill would require law enforcement to send out and test sexual assault examination kits within six months after collection. This is important because our survivors deserve to have their cases dealt with not only consideration- but haste. Ensuring that we test each rape kit in a timely manner is crucial to helping our victims recognize that not only do we stand with them, but we care enough to handle their case as quickly as our system allows, because that’s what they deserve. Sending out and getting these kits tested, for a lot of survivors, is one of the first steps of the healing process.
House Bill 16: The number may have changed, but the legislation and intent didn’t: our Alaska Food Freedom Act is back. The goal is to increase Alaska Grown products, improve food security, and have healthier options for Alaskans! These sales can be safely regulated while also expanding small business opportunities. Currently, Alaskans spend almost $2 billion a year on food, but very little is spent on Alaska Grown items. A recent report estimates that if every Alaskan spent just $5.00/per week on Alaska Grown items, it would add $188 million to the Alaska economy. Just imagine that economic boom!
If you have any questions or concerns about these particular pieces of legislation, or questions on any of the other bills I’m working on this session, please give me a call at (907) 465-3424 or email me at Rep.Geran.Tarr@akleg.gov.
Upcoming Community Council Meetings
• Thursday, January 17th from 7-9pm at Airport Heights Elementary for the Airport Heights Community Council
• Wednesday, February 13th from 7-9pm at Wonder Park Elementary for the Russian Jack Community Council
Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions, concerns, or ideas on legislation we could be introducing! I love hearing from you!
All my best,
P.S. Watch for announcements for upcoming video updates and district coffees! More soon!