Here is the current status. The Legislature is busy.
HB 44: Ethics Bill dealing with conflicts of interest. The bill passed the House and has been transmitted to the Senate. Keep tuned.
HB 31: Processing sexual assault kits: The bill passed the House and has been transmitted to the Senate. Keep tuned.
HB 111: Oil Tax Credits: Passed out of H RES and on to H FIN. Bill seems more contentious than expected in the House.
Bills with hearings this week:
SB 72: Anti-discrimination bill to add “sexual orientation, gender identity, or expression” to antidiscriminat statues. Hearing: Monday, April 10, 1 pm, Rm 205 (Sen HSS), public testimony welcomed.
HB 115: Income Tax and Permanent Fund Restructuring. This is a complicated and serious attempt to solve the budget crisis which would bring some stability to the state. One session dealt almost entirely with the handling of trusts settled in Alaska by non-residents. Apparently Alaska has a substantial private trust fund business that depends upon residents of other states who find Alaska trust laws more beneficial than their own states where the trust earnings are taxed in the home state income tax structure. This is a small part of the income tax law, but it shows the effort being expended on the budget crisis. We should support this HB 115 effort. Senator Pete Kelly, on the other hand, was on the news the other night saying that he didn’t see any form of income tax passing the Legislature. In contrast, many economic experts have said that without further revenue it will be difficult, if not impossible, to establish financial stability. If you support the ideas in HB 115 and have not made your voice heard, then now is the time. Email:[email protected]
HB 173: Establishes a Climate Change Commission. Sponsor: Josephson (Tarr) Hearing: Tuesday, April 11, H STA, Rm 120 (after JUD adjourns) LWVAK has not been following this, but we do have environmental positions and many members are interested in climate change research. You may want to watch this hearing as it is the first hearing for this bill. It will probably be a hearing to introduce the bill to the committee and perhaps include some expert testimony.
HB 175: National Popular Vote Compact. Sponsor: Fansler (Gara, Parish, Drummond, Kawasaki, Tarr) This bill has moved from H STA to H JUD. Hearing: Wednesday, April 12, 1:00 pm, Rm 120 (H JUD), Invited testimony only.
HB 1: Same-day Registration and Early Voting. Sponsor: Tuck (Drummond) The bill was passed out of H STA to H JUD. Hearing: Friday, April 14, H JUD, 1 pm, Rm 120, Public testimony welcome. The bill would allow same-day registration at the state level for all qualified residents who have not previously registered. It would also mandate that early voting sites remain consistently located at the same place unless there is a legitimate reason to move the site (such as a fire, etc.) The LWVAK has a letter of support on file for HB 1 based on current LWVAK positions that support registration outreach to all eligible voters, easily accessible registration, and same-day registration for voting on election day.
Bills you might be interested in:
SB 23: Appropriations for Capital Budget. Sponsor: Senate Rules by Request of Governor. This bill concerns the capital appropriations, supplemental appropropriation, reapprobriations. There is an opportunity for public testimony on Tuesday, April 11, 9 am, S FIN, Rm 532. If you prefer to email testimony, send to [email protected]
HB 205: Prohibit Sanctuary Municipalities. Sponsor Eastman, Co-sponsors: Millett, Chenault, Thompson, Wilson, Saddler, Reinbold, Kopp, Sullivan-Leonard. “An Act prohibiting a municipality from adopting or enforcing a policy or ordinance relating to sanctuary jurisdictions; and providing for an effective date.” This bill was read and referred to House CRA and JUD. It has had no hearings to date.
Of interest: The sponsor of this bill was the lone “no” vote in the passage of a bill, SB 46, to dedicate October 25 as a day of recognition for the African-American soldiers who helped build the Alaska Highway during WWII. The military was segregated then and these soldiers were given second-class treatment during the building of this massive war-time project and yet earned high praise for their performance. In the House, the vote was 39 “yes,” 1 “no” and that was Eastman, the new, young Representative from Wasilla. In the hearing SB 46 was combined with HB 94, sponsored by Rep. Tarr, so that Senator David Wilson could take the bill through the Legislature to passage. Invited testimony included a son who called long distance to tell his story: Growing up he had heard stories from his WWII veteran father about the building of the Alcan. After his father passed away, he tried to research that history and some of his father’s stories. But he found very little information on the role of the African-American troops who helped in the Alcan construction. Another caller, the grand-daughter of a 102-year-old soldier, spoke on behalf of her grandfather and thanked the Legislative members for proposing this day of recognition. A group in Anchorage is preparing curriculum materials so this history can be included in K-12 education. The bill is awaiting the Governor’s signature.