Capitol Report: Pace of work expected to be quick, but thorough

Hello friends and neighbors. With the second session of the 32nd Alaska State Legislature underway, lawmakers are back at the Capitol to work on the budget and numerous other matters that will come before us this year. Being an election year, and with 59 of 60 seats on the ballot, I expect the pace of work to be quick but thorough.

District changes ahead

As you may know, due to population shifts throughout the state, the Alaska Redistricting Board’s proposed election districts will result in changes to districts throughout the state. Pending the results of ongoing litigation, this year marks the end of the Senate District P. It has been an honor and privilege to serve as your senator over the years. I am looking forward to working with my Senate and House colleges on your behalf again this session.

2022 Legislative committee assignments

Again, this year, I am part of the Senate Majority Leadership team in the role of chair of the Rules Committee. The Rules Committee has the responsibility for determining which legislation advances to a vote of the full Senate. I also oversee matters related to the legislature’s internal workings during session, including operations of the State Capitol. As a member of the Leadership team, I have a great opportunity to better ensure Senate District P is well-represented during major policy discussions.

This session, I will continue as chair of the Senate Special Committee on World Trade. I also continue to serve as a member of the Senate Committee on Committees, the Senate Education Committee, the Senate Labor and Commerce Committee, and the Senate Resources Committee. Additionally, I am representing the Senate on the Joint-Legislative Council, which I previously chaired, and am an alternate member of the Select Committee on Legislative Ethics. I will continue as a member of the Senate Finance Subcommittees on the Education and Early Development budget; the governor’s budget; the Health and Social Services budget; and the Judiciary budget. The Finance Subcommittees are tasked with making recommendations on department and agency budgets to the full Senate Finance Committee.

FY 2023 budget

Committees in both legislative bodies have begun discussions on the FY 2023 budget. The starting point in the debate is the governor’s $10.9 billion budget proposal. Of that total, $4.6 billion would come from one-time federal funds.

The budget will be carefully vetted and will see changes as it goes through the legislative process. We will not know what the final budget will look like until session’s end. I will update you on its development process in future editions of the Capitol Report.

You can find out more about the governor’s budget proposal at omb.alaska.gov/fiscal-year-2023-proposed-budget.

Your input matters

Please keep in touch on the many matters coming before the legislature. If your time allows, I encourage you to add your comments to the record when bills and resolutions come before committees.

Senate District P’s Legislative Information Offices (LIOs) can provide you with information on committee schedules throughout the session.

  • The Cordova LIO can be reached at (907) 424-5461.
  • The Homer LIO can be reached at (907) 235-7878.  
  • The Kenai LIO can be reached at (907) 283-2030.
  • The Kodiak LIO can be reached at (907) 486-8116.

Following the Legislature

Alaska’s public television system produces Gavel Alaska, which broadcasts live and recorded coverage of floor sessions and committee hearings. The programming is also at 360north.org.

AlaskaLegislature.tv offers live coverage of meetings from the Capitol’s committee rooms. This service is provided by the legislature.

You can also access information on my personal legislation and any other bills and resolutions introduced during the 32nd Alaska Legislature through the Bill Action and Status Inquiry System at akleg.gov/basis/Home/BillsandLaws.

2022 PFD application period underway

Applications for this year’s PFD can be submitted through March 31. Like many Alaskans, I have found the quickest and easiest way to apply is at pfd.alaska.gov. If you do apply by mail, please send your application by certified mail, and request a return receipt.

Pick.Click.Give.

Several local nonprofit organizations are participating in the Pick.Click.Give. program again this year. The program offers you the opportunity to donate all, or part of your PFD in $25 increments to the nonprofit organization of your choice.

Pick.Click.Give is run by the Alaska Community Foundation in partnership with the Rasmuson Foundation, the Foraker Group, United Way of Anchorage, and the State of Alaska Permanent Fund Dividend Division.

Capitol re-opened to the public

After being closed to the public to protect against the spread of COVID-19 last session, it is nice to see visitors back in the Capitol. If you are headed our way during session, please give my office a call so we can get you on the schedule. We are also equipped for virtual conferencing, should you be unable to get to Juneau.

The Senate District P staff

District P’s Capitol office is staffed by talented, hardworking individuals who have been with me for several years.Tim Lamkin is on his 16th session with my office, while Katrina Matheny and Doug Letch are now in their 22nd years on staff.

Please do not hesitate to reach out if we can be of assistance to you with state agencies matters. You can reach us in Juneau at 1-800-821-4925 or 907-465-4925. My email address is Sen.Gary.Stevens@akleg.gov

Thank you to our local media for allowing me the opportunity to share this information. Please keep in touch.