I’m Here for You
I want to hear from you. Please share your thoughts and voice
January 25, 2020
The “Alaska Reads Act”
Among the highpoints of the first week of the legislative session is the momentum behind the Alaska Reads Act to help Alaska’s youngest students become better readers. Reading is so crucial for young people because of the link between reading proficiency and student success.
The Alaska Reads Act is an example of how those with widely different political viewpoints can come together to help our children succeed. Governor Mike Dunleavy and Senate Minority Leader Tom Begich introduced the Alaska Reads Act, and so far, the bills have picked up significant bipartisan support, including from the President of the Alaska Senate.
I am an enthusiastic supporter of the Alaska Reads Act because it would expand Alaska’s early learning opportunities, including more pre-K options for students across the state. Early education is proven to help students succeed academically. I also like that the act includes help for struggling schools through a comprehensive reading intervention program.
I sit on the House Education Committee, and I am anxious to hear more about the Alaska Reads Act, which is House Bill 204.
Rep. Tuck meeting with well-known education advocate Posie Boggs with the Alaska Reading Coalition. The coalition is supporting the passage of the Alaska Reads Act.
Pat Pitney Hired as the New Legislative Finance Director
On Friday, the Legislative Budget and Audit Committee, which I chair, selected Pat Pitney from Juneau as the Director of the Division of Legislative Finance. Pitney will replace long-time Director David Teal, who retired last month after holding the position since 1997.
Pat Pitney brings extensive government experience to her new job as the Director of the Alaska State Legislature’s Legislative Finance Division. Pitney was the Director of the Office of Management and Budget under Governor Bill Walker, where she was responsible for developing the annual budget proposals and guiding them through the legislative process. Prior to that, Pitney was the Vice Chancellor for Administrative Services at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.
I know that Pat Pitney will be able to step into the position and immediately take over for David Teal because she knows the budget process, she knows how the Legislature works, and she had the temperament and demeanor to work with people to solve problems. I’m incredibly excited to welcome Pat Pitney to the legislative team and look forward to working with her for many years to come.
Veto Override Effort Comes up A Few Votes Short
Right now, there are Alaskans who feel trapped and isolated because a vital transportation system has fallen into disarray. That’ one of the reasons why I voted on Friday to restore $5 million in funding for the Alaska Marine Highway System. I also supported the restoration of over $68 million in school bond debt reimbursement funding that was vetoed last year out of the FY 20 budget. The impact of this budget veto on Anchorage is nearly $20 million. As a result of the cut, the Municipality of Anchorage is looking at a property tax increase. My yes vote on Friday was to prevent that tax increase.
The Alaska Constitution sets a high bar to override a veto. 45 yes votes are needed from all 60 members of the House and Senate. Unfortunately, the final vote on Friday was 37-20. While I am disappointed in the result, I think it was important to show the people of Alaska that a majority of their elected representatives support a strong state ferry system and oppose cost-shifting state responsibilities to local taxpayers.
The voting board from the January 24, 2020 vote to override three of Governor Dunleavy's line-item budget vetoes.
State of the State
The annual State of the State address by the Governor of Alaska will be held Monday night. Governor Dunleavy will address a joint session of the Alaska Legislature shortly after 7:00 p.m. The address will be broadcast live on Gavel Alaska and on radio and television stations across the state.
Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy delivering the 2019 State of the State address.
I’m here for you, so please keep in touch on matters important to you and your family!
If you do not wish to receive future emails from Rep. Tuck, click here.