2017 Action Alert #4

NOTE: AN EMAIL NEEDS TO BE ONLY 2-3 SENTENCES LONG (UNLESS YOU HAVE MORE TO SAY).  BUT THOSE 2-3 SENTENCES ARE IMPORTANT BECAUSE THEY SHOW YOUR SUPPORT FOR A BILL OR CERTAIN ASPECTS OF A BILL.  SO LET YOUR VOICES BE HEARD!

Great Alaska Schools Rejuvenation Meeting – Saturday, March 11  10:00-11:30 Mendenhall Valley Library Conference Room. Great Alaska Schools was founded in Juneau more than 10 years ago.  The leadership was picked up by folks in Anchorage and the group has now grown to more than 3000 members, statewide.  It’s time to reconvene and refocus our Juneau group for the legislative session.

We don’t need lots of time or lots of experience, but we do need people to pitch in with a few minutes to: Sign up new people to join Great Alaska Schools email list, Testify (to legislature, CBJ, School Board), Call legislators, CBJ assembly members, Write letters, Mobilize Juneau via emails and flyers and social media, Come up with other great ideas of things to do, Organize us, Encourage others to do all of the above

At this meeting, we’ll be skyping with Alyse Galvin or Deena Mitchell of Great Alaska Schools.  They will give us background about the most recent bills and predictions at the state level, and help us strategize.  We’ll have a Juneau School Board member in person to help us understand the ramifications at the local level.  And then we’ll figure out how we – given our minimal time and resources – can have a maximum impact! Please come help!!!

2. HB 44; LEGISLATIVE ETHICS: VOTING & CONFLICTS Sponsors: GRENN, LeDoux, Kawasaki, Tuck, Stutes, Spohnholz, Parish, Fansler, Tarr, Drummond, Gara, Ortiz . The last hearing resulted in the approval of an amendment by Rep. LeDoux, which I have attached for those following this bill along with the last version of the bill currently available. This bill goes hand-in-hand with HCR1 (also attached) which amends the Uniform Rules to align with HB 44 and requires a majority vote of the House or Senate to allow an abstention after hearing a brief explanation of the conflict. In the past a unanimous vote was needed to allow the abstention, which could result in one objection from one member, forcing the conflicted elected official to vote. Now a majority is needed before an abstention is allowed.

HEARING ON HB 44 with public testimony: March 7, 5;30 pm, Rm 120. This bill for ethics conflicts can use more support via personal or written testimony. Talking points include the need for government transparency and an increased faith in the fairness of Legislative votes which in the end can affect all Alaskans. If you can’t attend the hearing or your LIO, please email the following committee members or the bill’s sponsor Rep. Grenn.The bill is in House State Affairs: Representative.Jonathon.[email protected]Representative.Gabrielle.[email protected][email protected]akleg.gov[email protected]akleg.gov;[email protected]akleg.gov[email protected]akleg.gov;[email protected]akleg.gov[email protected]akleg.gov OR[email protected]akleg.gov (sponsor)

3. HB 115: INCOME TAX; PFD CREDIT; PERM FUND INCOME Sponsors: House Finance Committee

More info from Representative Seaton can be found here:<http://akhouse.org/rep_seaton/state-revenue-restructuring-act/>

This bill is still in the House FIN with no hearings scheduled at present. The last meeting introduced several amendments which are classified as technical fixes as well as changes to the PF section based on prior testimony. These amendments can be found on BASIS under Documents on the HB 115 page. If you look through the documents, you will find many letters of both support and opposition. If you feel that the budget crisis should be solved this year rather than push a serious solution to a later year, if you support the restructuring of the PF as well as a progressive income tax, then write a short email stating this to the House Finance Committee. The LWVAK board has submitted a letter of support. You can send your email to the commitee co-chairs: [email protected]akleg.gov[email protected]akleg.gov. Your emails are important if you support the basics of this bill because there is much opposition to both the income tax and the PF earnings restructuring. The bill insures the continued existence of a PFD as well as budget use and continued growth of the PF.

Check out the urgency that the Governor and Lt.Governor express here concerning a fix this year: <http://juneauempire.com/opinion/2017-03-05/gov-walker-history-waiting-posterity-watching>

4. HB 111: OIL & GAS PRODUCTION TAX;PAYMENTS;CREDITS Sponsor: House Resources. “An Act relating to the oil and gas production tax, tax payments, and credits; relating to interest applicable to delinquent oil and gas production tax; and providing for an effective date.”

Alaska currently owes $750 million in oil tax credits, the third largest piece of the budget pie. Obviously this is a problem in any attempt to create a sustainable budget. You can read the sponsors’ statement here:<http://www.akleg.gov/basis/get_documents.asp?session=30&docid=11430>

Looking under Documents on the bill’s BASIS page, you will find a sectional analysis of the bill and many letters of opposition, most of which are from oil-related companies. You will also find letters of support; in the second batch of support letters you will find a support letter from LWV member Margo Waring! Please add you own letter of support for this bill as it is an important piece in the solving of a sustainable budget for the state.

There are daily hearings on this bill this week and invited testimony. All hearings are teleconferenced so that citizens can watch/listen to the testimony from experts in the oil tax field. Check BASIS at this link if you are interested in any of the testimony:<http://www.akleg.gov/basis/Bill/Detail/30?Root=HB%20111#tab5_4>

5. HB 25: INSURANCE COVERAGE FOR CONTRACEPTIVES Sponsors: Claman, Spohnholz

This bill will make it possible to get coverage for a 12-month supply of birth control and decrease the number of unplanned pregnancies. The sponsor’s statement can be found here: <http://www.akleg.gov/basis/get_documents.asp?session=30&docid=12643>

HEARING ON HB 25 with public testimony: Thursday, March 9, 3 pm, Room 106, Teleconferenced. You can join your local LIO for public testimony or join the hearing if you live in Juneau. You can also write emails to [email protected]akleg.gov. The LWVAK has sent a letter of support.

6. HB 146: SCHOOL TAX; PFD PAYMENT FOR SCHOOL TAX Sponsor: Claman

“An Act imposing a school tax on certain income of residents, part-year residents, and nonresidents; relating to a payment against the school tax from the permanent fund dividend disbursement; and providing for an effective date.”

This bill has been read and referred to House EDU and House FIN. There are no hearings scheduled at this time, but it is a bill to watch as it may become active if there is no settlement of the state budget problems.

By | 2017-03-06T12:25:01+00:00 March 6th, 2017|Action Alert, Member Info|0 Comments

About the Author:

Pat Watt has been a LWV member (on and off) for almost 50 years. She is currently Chair of the LWVJ Communications Committee, and Chairs the Website Subcommittee.