I’m Here for You
I want to hear from you,
April 5, 2019
Help for Military Spouses and Powerful Pebble Mine Testimony
On Tuesday, the House Military and Veterans Affairs Committee held the first hearing for a bill I introduced that is pro-military and pro-jobs. The goal of House Bill 93, which is the House version of Senator Kawasaki’s Senate Bill 11, is to increase the use of temporary courtesy occupational licenses by the spouses of military members newly stationed in Alaska. These temporary licenses are an important tool to allow military spouses to go to work quickly after they relocate. The Alaska Legislature passed a bill in 2011 authorizing the use of these temporary licenses, but they have not been used as frequently as was hoped or anticipated. I have heard from military spouses that didn’t even know that these temporary occupational licenses were an option.
The original law didn’t include any reporting requirements, which made it difficult for the Alaska Legislature, the Joint Armed Services Committee, the Department of Defense, and others to track the progress of the temporary licensing program. HB 93 and SB 11 address this issue by calling for the Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development (DCCED) to prepare and submit an annual report to the Alaska Legislature. Additionally, these bills call for DCCED to produce and distribute informational materials to each of the boards that issue temporary courtesy licenses.
I am hoping either my bill or Senator Kawasaki’s bill will pass this session because the issue of temporary courtesy licenses is a top priority for the Department of Defense. The House Military and Veterans Affairs Committee will hear HB 93 again on Tuesday afternoon. I expect the bill will move out of the committee at that meeting on its way to the House Labor and Commerce Committee.
Help for Victims of Domestic Violence
This week the Alaska House of Representatives voted unanimously to pass a bill put forward by my colleague, Rep. Chuck Kopp, to fix a flaw in state law identified by a recent Alaska Supreme Court ruling. House Bill 12 helps victims of domestic violence by allowing the court to extend existing protective orders based on the original complaint. This fix was needed because the Supreme Court found no authority under state law to allow these kinds of extensions. Thank you to Rep. Kopp for guiding this important piece of public safety legislation through the House. I am hopeful the State Senate will see the urgency in fixing this flaw by quickly passing House Bill 12.
Rep. Chris Tuck (D-Anchorage) and Rep. Chuck Kopp (R-Anchorage) at April 5, 2019, Go Blue Friday rally on the Capitol steps.
Go Blue Friday Rally to Prevent Child Abuse
Lawmakers, staffers, and visitors to the Capitol Building were decked out in blue today for the annual Go Blue Friday rally. The rally is organized every year by Rep. Geran Tarr to raise awareness about child abuse prevention efforts in Alaska and nationwide. Alaska’s children are our greatest resource, and they should be protected and cherished. I was glad to join my colleagues for today’s rally on the Capitol steps, and as the co-chair of the Alaska Children’s Caucus, I pledge to work diligently to protect children and to promote healthy families.
Powerful Testimony about the Pebble Mine
As a member of the House Resources Committee, I have been learning about the controversial Pebble Mine in southwest Alaska. Last month, the committee heard from the proponents of the mine, and earlier today we heard from the Corps of Engineers, which was tasked with developing the draft environmental impact statement (EIS) for the mine that is currently up for public comment.
While I am still learning about the mine, I was moved by the testimony we heard during Monday’s meeting from one of the foremost salmon experts on earth. Daniel Schindler with the School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences at the University of Washington spends much of his time studying Bristol Bay’s salmon, and he didn’t mince words about the scientific validity of the Corp of Engineers draft EIS. He said the EIS did not hold up as a scientific document and went so far as to label it as a farce.
While I am a supporter of mining, I am skeptical that the Pebble Mine is financially viable based on several mining companies pulling out of the project. Additionally, I share many of the concerns outlined by Daniel Schindler during his testimony to the House Resources Committee on Monday. You can watch his full testimony by clicking on the photo below.
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.