From Senator Elvi Gray-Jackson <[email protected]>
Subject Elvi's Updates- June Newsletter
Date June 1, 2023 8:11 PM
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From Juneau to You! Dear Friends, Our office has officially transitioned to the interim. This means that my staff (with the exception of Jeff) and I will be working in Anchorage. Jeff is working in my Juneau Office. This also means that we are here for you, so I encourage you to please reach out using the information at the bottom of this email. I am honored to represent you and your interests during the session and the interim! The Budget The special session started and ended in less than 24-hours. The House majority eventually agreed to accept $35 million in unrestricted capital spending in exchange for concurring with the Senate’s budget. Our budget was balanced and did not require a savings draw. The budget pays for services in the 12 months that begin July 1. An example of the House's Capital projects include but not limited to: $474,000 for an ADA Compliant Elevator for Salcha Seniors Community Center $5 million for City of Palmer, Reconstruction of Public Library $5 million for City of Wasilla, Airport Runway $447,000 for Municipality of Anchorage, Hillside Limited Road Service Area/Rural Road Service Area, Drainage and Ditching $550,000 for Alaska Association of Chiefs of Police, Police Policy Manual Project $1.5 million for Municipality of Anchorage, Purchase and Establish Eagle River Cemetery Additional highlights from the budget include a $174 million boost to public school funding and pays a $1,300 Permanent Fund dividend. This was proposed after the House proposed a roughly $2,700 check, with the potential for up to an additional $500 per person next year if oil prices are higher than forecast. Below is more information regarding the operating and capital budgets.  The Senate cut a $15 million proposal for child care block grants down to $7.5 million, and it also scaled back a proposal to boost Medicaid payment rates for developmental disability and personal care services, from a 10% increase to a 5% increase, for a savings of $15 million. The Senate cut the budgeted payment for oil and gas tax credits to $28 million from $56 million. The Senate added a $5 million capital item for "port electrification," though the Alaska Energy Authority, paid for with cruise ship fees and fines. The Senate added $234,000 for improvements to the trail that runs alongside Eklutna Lake, $1 million for an Indian Valley Trail reroute and $100,000 to reestablish public access to the Ram Valley. The Senate bumped up a $5 million capital item for the University of Alaska's drone program to $10 million, and added another $7.5 million for university maintenance and renovation projects in Fairbanks, Juneau and Anchorage. End Of Session Bill Updates This session, I introduced several bills ranging in topics from police reform to cultural recognition. None of my bills were able to pass this session, however, I am confident some of them will pass during the second session of the 33rd Legislature which begins on January 16, 2024. Senate Bill 22 seeks to establish Juneteenth (June 19th) as a legal state holiday. The bill was able to make it through the Senate and House State Affairs committees. The bill has been transmitted to the House Finance committee where it awaits a hearing. After the bill moves from House Finance, it'll head to the House floor for a vote. I am confident that this bill will become law during the next legislative session . Senate Bill 23 would require reporting to a use of force registry by the Department of Public Safety. The bill is currently in Senate State Affairs and will be heard again during the next legislative session. Senate Bill 24 which establishes Mental Health Education to be implemented in schools is now awaiting a hearing in Senate Finance before it heads to the Senate floor for a vote. The bill has received bi-partisan support in the Senate. Senate Bill 30 establishes October as Filipino Heritage Month. In addition to my bill, a House companion bill was offered- House Bill 23. This session, the House bill was able to advance to the finish line before the Senate bill, thus HB 23 now awaits the governor's signature. Senate Bill 32 prohibits the use of chokeholds by peace officers. The bill had two committee referrals in the Senate- State Affairs and Judiciary. The bill awaits a hearing in Senate State Affairs. Senate Bill 43 relates to health and personal safety education. The bill would establish sex education curricula in schools. The bill was referred to Senate Education and Health and Social Services. The bill was heard once in the Senate's Education committee but has failed to move out to its next committee referral. I remain hopeful the bill will have more movement during the next legislative session. Senate Bill 131 requires education in the history and contributions of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. The bill was introduced later in the Session and we simply ran out of time. During the next legislative session, the bill's first stop will be Senate State Affairs. Senate Bill 143 is my companion bill to House Bill 111. HB111 is a deaf and hard of hearing children’s bill of rights that establishes consistency in the information provided to parents by the school district, allows parents to choose the best method of communication for their child and requires the school district to provide services using the parent’s chosen method of communication. If passed, Alaska will join 17 other states with similar efforts. The bill is awaiting a hearing in the Senate Education during the next session. In addition to introducing my own legislation, I also supported many bills as either a cross sponsor (support for bills introduced in the House) or co-sponsor (support for bills introduced in the Senate). House Bill 8 brings our State statutes up to date so all Alaskans can enjoy and use electric-assisted bicycles. Alaska does not have any laws pertaining to electric assisted bicycles, nor related references to operating licenses, safety requirements, local traffic laws, or related definitions. The bill passed both Houses on the 11th of May, and is awaiting the Governor's signature. House Bill 23 which establishes October as Filipino Heritage Month was passed into law, and I am so pleased to have carried the companion bill in the Senate (see above). House Bill 51 relates to refrigerants designated as acceptable for use under federal law. The bill was passed and now awaits the Governor's signature to become law. House Bill 56 exempts veterinarians from the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program. This legislation was passed and is on its way to the Governor's desk. House Bill 78 establishes September 10th as Alaska Community Health Aide Appreciation Day. The bill had broad support from both sides of the aisle and on April 19th, the bill passed. House Bill 112 clarifies the Alaska Board of Pharmacy’s powers and duties to align with the federal Drug Supply Chain and Security Act (DSCSA) related to licensing and oversight of manufacturers, out-of-state pharmacies, outsourcing facilities, and internet pharmacies who conduct business in Alaska. In doing so, these out-of-state entities will be held to the same high standard as those operating in the state of Alaska, helping to ensure Alaskans have access to medications that are safe, no matter where they originate. The bill passed. House Bill 123 addresses issues presented by ANCSA corporations. These concerns center around the belief the current law is antiquated, and leaves Native corporations established under ANCSA at a competitive disadvantage compared with newer corporations. The bill passed. House Joint Resolution 5 urges the State of Alaska and Federal Government to do all they can to keep our sustainable fisheries in Alaska open. The bill passed with broad, bi-partisan support. House Joint Resolution 11 1 urges the United States Environmental Protection Agency to develop a woodstove certification program that the state, Department of Environmental Conservation and residents of the Fairbanks North Star Borough nonattainment area can rely on and acknowledges the unique challenges Alaskans face in economically and technically feasible and is legally defensible. The bill passed. Senate Bill 10 provides service-disabled veterans, along with active National Guard and reservists the same hunting/fishing/trapping license as older Alaskans. The bill awaits the Governor's signature. Senate Bill 119 provides easier access to identification cards for reentrants upon release, granting them an important tool for reintegration. SB119 grants the Department of Corrections the statutory authority to issue state IDs to anyone leaving their custody that does not have an ID in their possession. The bill passed. If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to my office at: Besse Odom Chief of Staff 907 269-0174 Harlyn Andrew Legislative Staff 907 269-0174 Jeff Stepp Legislative Council Aide 907-465-4930 Send us an Email Follow Me on Facebook Follow Me on Twitter I’m Senator Elvi, always..... "Listening and Representing Your Interests!” Alaska Senate Democrats | Capitol Building, 4th Avenue & Main Street, Juneau, AK 99801 Unsubscribe [email protected] Constant Contact Data Notice Sent by [email protected]
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