Legislative Update: 3/20/12










A Breath of Fresh Air
The capitol enjoyed three very special guests this week.  Corinne McVee, Jennifer Palinko, and Jo­sephine Edwards-Vollertsen from the Anchorage Council of Education met with their legislators and watched the debate on the operating budget on the House Floor.  In addition to bringing attention to the issues of education funding, vouchers, and restoring defined benefits, they conveyed the im­portance of support staff in the Anchorage school district and the value of their work.  The trio do everything from write grants, provide security to manage Indian Education programs.  Look for photos next week.

“It’s time to show young Alaskans we value their future.” —Rep. Pete Petersen

Operating Budget moves to the Senate
Last week, the (H) Finance Committee restored numerous priorities from the University Board of Regents originally cut by the Governor.  Al­though welcomed,  the increases will not impact the severe hikes in health benefit costs univer­sity employees will have to shoulder.

The anticipated amendment from the Governor to boost the money to school districts didn’t ma­terialize.  That didn’t stop Rep. Pete Petersen (D-Anch) from proposing to increase the budget by $46,21,122 this next fiscal year when the budget came to the floor.  Petersen listed the accom­plishments of the school districts and argued that this wasn’t the time to lose momentum.

Rep. Bill Stoltze spoke against the amendment, saying the (H) Finance Committee would work to schedule a hearing on the vehicle from the other body (SB 171, presumably) for a week of hearings.  APEA/AFT represents five groups in four different school districts.  The flat funding is causing massive uncertainties among our mem­bers, the students, and parents.

Schedule of Upcoming Hearings

Tuesday, March 20
(H) State Affairs        HB 11 Military Retirees Health Care Benefits
(S) Finance                SB 201 Oil and Gas Corporate Taxes
(S) Labor                    SB 224 Evidence Rules: Union/Employee Privilege
(H) HSS                      Presentations:
“The Federal Health Law and Alaska – What You Need to Know” w/the Director of Health & Human Services Task Force ALEC
Overview of Health Care by Commissioner Hultberg, Dept of Administration
Overview of Health Care by Commissioner Streur
(S) Finance Subcommittee on Dept of Education: Budget Closeout

Wednesday, March 21
(H) Education                        SB 8 Student Questionnaires and Surveys
HJR 39 Urging the State to Opt Out of NCLB
HB 330 State Education Standards
(S) Education                        Presentation on the Mayor’s education Summit:
Mayor Dan Sullivan
(H) Judiciary              HB 292 Princip & Inc/Probate/Retirement, etc.
(H) Resources            Overview: Oil and Gas Taxes and Credits by Dept of Revenue
(S) Governor              Finance Subcommittee on the Governor’s Budget
(H) Labor                   HB 327 Evidence Rules: Union/Employee Privilege

Thursday, March 22
(H) State Affairs        HB 247 Use of Municipal Funds for Initiatives
(S) Finance                SB 192 Oil and Gas Production Tax Rates
(S) Finance Subcommittee University of Alaska
(S) Labor                    SB 224 Evidence Rules: union/Employee Privilege
(S) Administration Finance Subcommittee Closeout
(S) Corrections Finance Subcommittee Closeout

Friday, March 23
(H) Education                        HB 330 State Education Standards
(S) Education                        Alaska Tech Prep Consortium Presentation
(S) Finance                SB 192 Oil and Gas Production Tax Rates
(S) Judiciary              SJR 19 Constitutional Amendment: Redistricting Board
(H) Labor                   HB 300 Geographic COLA for Justices and Judges

 Bills in the News
SB 83, Providing payment and loan incentives to public school teachers for national certification, passed the Senate by 17yea-1nay(Senator Giessel cast the no vote).  SB 83 is now in (H) Education.

HB 256, Repealing provisions relating to the power and duties of DEED intervention, moved from (H) Education and is now in (H) Finance

SB 197, Establishing a grant program in DEED for achieving excellence in public schools, moved from (S) Education into (S) Finance.

SB 217, Establishing guidelines and procedures for the auditing of pharmacy records, moved from (S) Labor with four do pass.  Now in (S) Finance.

HB 164, Operating Budget, Amendment #6: Appropriating $46,211,122 to the Department of Education to be distributed as state aid to districts according to the average daily membership for each district.  Introduced to prevent cuts to local school districts due to inflation.

Yes votes (to support the amendment):  Cissna, Gara, Gardner, Gruenberg, Guttenberg, Holmes, Kawasaki, Kerttula, Miller, Petersen, and Tuck.

No votes: Chenault, Costello, Doogan, Edgmon, Fairclough, Feige, Gatto, Hawker, Herron, Johansen, Johnson, Keller, Lynn, Millett, Munoz, Neuman, Olson, Pruitt, Saddler, Seaton, Stoltze, Thomas, Thompson, P. Wilson, T. Wilson.

Excused: Austerman, Dick, Foster

Absent: Joule

Video clip of the ACE members getting introduced on the (H) Floor.



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