Hello again. As the Legislature approaches the halfway point in this year’s 90-day session, we are preparing to welcome new members to both the Senate and the House and are looking forward to working with them in the Capitol.
On the Senate side, the governor has appointed Mike Shower, R-Wasilla, to the body. Shower spent two decades as a pilot in the United States Air Force, earning the rank of lieutenant colonel. He retired from military service in 2010 and will take a leave from his job as a Federal Express to join us in Juneau.
The House’s new member is Tiffany Zulkosky, D-Bethel, who will represent District 38. A former city of Bethel mayor, Ms. Zulkosky is currently the vice president of communications for the Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corp.
Committee assignments for both new legislators will be announced soon.
Education Committee update
In recent weeks, the Senate Education Committee, which I chair, has met with school district officials and school board members from around Alaska. We have also heard presentations from University of Alaska officials and the State Board of Education.
On Monday, Feb. 26, the committee will consider SB 183, legislation allowing school districts to hire retired teachers. The idea behind the bill is to help school districts temporally fill vacancies by bringing retired teachers back into the classroom.
On Wednesday, Feb. 28, the committee will hold its first hearing on HB 214. The bill renames a portion of the Alaska Safe Children’s Act as Bree’s Law in remembrance of Bree Moore, who died tragically in 2014 at the hands of her boyfriend. Miss Moore’s story is a strong reminder about the need to educate young people to recognize and safely respond to dating violence.
Please contact my office if you have any questions on the Senate Education Committee and our schedule.
Personal legislation update
On Monday, Feb. 19, the Senate Finance Committee held its first hearing on SB 8. The bill is intended to give Alaska’s federally recognized tribal governments the ability to take part in the Permanent Fund Dividend’s popular Pick.Click.Give. program should they choose.
On Friday, Feb. 16, the Senate Finance Committee held its first hearing on SB 15. Passage of the bill will ban sales of electronic cigarettes, or e-cigarettes, and similar products to minors.
On Friday, Feb. 23, the Senate Finance Committee had its first hearing on SB 131.
The bill calls for the legislature to pass a separate budget for K-12 public education by April 1st each year. Passage of this bill will let school officials know the minimum amount of state funding districts can expect a month before their funding requests are due to their local governments. This will also help districts avoid having to issue layoff notices to teachers, which has occurred in past years when budget negotiations continued well into the spring and has been so disruptive.
I anticipate further hearings on these bills soon.
You can find more information on these bills and my other personal legislation online at: http://www.akleg.gov/basis/Member/Detail/30?code=STG#tab7_3
File for your dividend
The 2018 PFD application period ends Saturday, March 31. You can apply online at www.pfd.alaska.gov. If you are applying by mail, I highly recommend sending your application by certified mail and request a return receipt for your records.
Visitors to the Capitol
It is always nice to see constituents in the Capitol. Among recent visitors were City of Kodiak Mayor Pat Branson and Kodiak City Council Member Charlie Davidson. Also stopping by the office were City of Homer Mayor Bryan Zak, Homer City Council members Donna Aderhold and Shelly Erickson, and Homer City Manager Katie Koester. It was also great to talk to Kodiak’s Duncan Fields and Mike Friccero during their time in Juneau. Additionally, I had the opportunity to visit with former Kodiak resident and current Koniag Inc. Regional and Legislative Affairs Executive Tom Panamaroff, who is well-remembered in the Capitol for his many years as a legislative staffer.
When you finalize your travel plans to Juneau, please give my office a call so we can find some time to get together while you are here.
Legislative Information Offices can assist you
Senate District P is served by Legislative Information Offices in Cordova, Homer, Kenai and Kodiak. These offices can help you follow bills and resolutions through the legislative process, participate in teleconferences, and contact lawmakers.
The Cordova LIO can be reached at 424-5461 and email at LIO.Cordova@akleg.gov
The Homer LIO can be reached at 235-7878 and email at LIO.Homer@akleg.gov
The Kenai LIO can be reached at 283-2030 and email at LIO.Kenai@akleg.gov
The Kodiak LIO can be reached at 486-8116 and email at LIO.Kodiak@akleg.gov
Keep in touch
I welcome your thoughts on the many matters under consideration in Juneau. You can reach me by phone at 1-800-821-4925 and in Juneau at 465-4925.
My mailing address is: Senator Gary Stevens, Alaska State Legislature, 120 4th Street, State Capitol, Room 3, Juneau, AK 99801
You can email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks again to Senate District P’s Media for allowing me the opportunity to tell you about some of things going on in Juneau through the Capitol Report. I look forward to giving you another update on our work in a few weeks.