2024, Alaska, Newsletter

Newsletter Vol 2 Issue 4

Last Updated: March 25th, 2024

Education Compromise

House News:

During the last two weeks in the House of Representatives, the sessions have centered around SB 140 – Internet for Schools. The House Rules committee modified it to include a number of provisions including changes to charter schools, correspondence schools, the Base Student Allocation (BSA), and others.

Most of you are well aware of the changes, but it was a very long process. Once it went to the floor of the House, there were many amendments (most of them failed their votes).  In the end, the House did increase the BSA by $680, and did add some funding for the elementary students for the Read Act requirements.

Given the need for the school districts to finalize their budgets by mid-March, this vote came earlier in the session. This now leaves time for more debates on the budget (including how they will actually find the funds for this). Still more to come. 

No one seems entirely happy about this bill – a sure sign of compromise – which is a  rare occurrence these days. As this is a bill and not the budget, the Governor doesn’t have a line item veto. He can either sign it as it, or veto the whole bill. If he vetos it, it is unclear if there is enough votes to override. And, this would mean that the Internet for schools in the rural communities would lose out on funding for this year. However, when the budget comes across his desk later this year, he will be able to either approve the full funding, or at that point, he can also veto some of the funding for this bill, effectively cutting the BSA once again. Still more to come. 

In other news in the House, the deadline to introduce bills was Feb. 20th. There were 52 new bills introduced (full list here). It isn’t clear how many of these will get a hearing, nor move forward, but this was a way for Legislators to show their constituents that they are doing something for them. None of these are centered around our key legislative issues, however if any are set to be heard, we will add them to our watch list. As this is the second session, any bills not adopted this year will have to be reintroduced next session. 

Senate News:

While the House was tied up with the Education bill, and new bill introductions, the Senate continued a focus on the background for the budget with presentations by the executive branch agencies. The presentation by the Division of Education invoked quite of bit of questioning. You can listen here.

The Senate also spent time disapproving a number of the Governor’s Executive Orders.

On February 26th, the Senate concurred with the House changes to SB140, and the bill was transmitted to the Governor for his approval. 

Other news:

This was also the time for the annual addresses to the Joint Session by Senator Dan Sullivan, Senator Lisa Murkowski, and Representative Mary Sattler Peltola. You can listen to them in full here:  Senator Sullivan, Senator Murkowski, Representative Peltola.  Earlier this month, Alaska Supreme Court’s Chief Justice Peter Maassen delivered his State of the Judiciary to the joint legislative 

What to Know:  Legislation Tracking

Note: SB173 has a meeting scheduled on March 1st. See below.


House Bill 129 – “Voter Registration”, Sponsored by by the House Judiciary Committee chaired by Rep. Vance (R-Homer) has passed the House and has not yet been scheduled for a hearing in the Senate.

House Bill 4 – “Repeal Ranked Choice Voting”, As of the first of February, this bill passed House Judiciary and was sent to the House Finance Committee.  The LWV-AK does NOT support this bill.  House Finance Committee is now turning its focus on the budget.

Senate Bill 177 sponsored by Sen. Hughes (R-Palmer) “Relating to artificial intelligence; requiring disclosure of deepfakes in campaign communications” is still in Senate State Affairs. 

There was a new AI bill in the House:  “Prohibit AI-Altered Representations” HB 358 which was introduced in the large group of new bills.

You can also check out some of the webinars from LWV-Maine (and co-sponsored by us) on artificial intelligence (AI).  Listen at Digital Threats to Democracy at https://www.lwvme.org/digitaldemocracy.  On Tuesday, February 27  at 1:00 pm AKST there is a new webinar: Defending Democracy in the Digital Age. Hosted on Zoom. Register.

Don’t forget to go to – VotingRightsAlaska.org – where you can read additional information and find additional ways to be involved. Please check it out!


SB 173   “Requiring school districts to grant qualified persons an assigned duty to carry a concealed handgun”…introduced by Sen. Hughes (R-Palmer). This bill has another hearing coming up on March 1st. 

The bill SB 173: Authorize Handguns School Employee/volunteers has been scheduled for a meeting.  Senate Labor & Commerce  Committee Beltz Room 105 ~ Mar 1 2024 1:30 pm.  

Call in Information: If your phone # has an Anchorage prefix, call 907-563-9085. If a Juneau prefix, call 907-586-9085 – elsewhere (toll-free) call 844-586-9085. Calling the # above will connect you to the teleconferencing system. An operator will take your information and place you into the public testimony queue. Be prepared to limit your comments to two minutes. 

Or you can email your comments to:




Legislative Calendar and Events 

  • April 14, 2024  – 90th day of the session (By law (AS 24.05.150))
  • May 15, 2024  – 121st day of the session (Per the Alaska Constitution)

Wrap Up/Links

How are we doing?

The League always needs volunteers!  Writing letters, talking to your legislators, and helping out by giving us your feedback – it doesn’t have to be a total commitment.  

We would LOVE to hear from you.  Please encourage  others to take action by sharing this Legislative Newsletter, Action Alerts, and Calendar Events.  Contact us at alaskalwv@alaskalwv.org, and/or work to get the word out with your local leagues. 

Expanding the League’s impact helps us to Empower Voters and Defend Democracy as a community!  We’ll keep these links accessible here for you.

You can see your LWV Alaska Board members and Officers and their contact information on the AlaskaLWV.org/Board/ site.

League of Women Voters of Alaska
PO Box 101345
Anchorage, AK 99510-1345

Email us at alaskalwv@alaskalwv.org
Website:  www.alaskalwv.org 


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