March 21, 2017
Stay Informed!
The most important thing to me is that every person has the opportunity to be involved in the conversation about how we run our state. 

Scroll and click to learn about:
  • Coffee Dates with Ivy

  • Budget Basics- House Votes

  • Opportunity for Public Testimony

  • Municipal Elections- Your Vote Counts

  • Community Council Meetings

Budget Basics: House Vote

The first week of Budget Basics, we talked about the context of the budget discussion. Due to a significant drop in oil revenue, we have a $2.7 billion dollar deficit. Next, we discussed the importance of generating sustainable revenue to support essential services, like public safety and education.

This week I want to share with you about the operating budget.                                            
Rep. Spohnholz addressing the House in support of HB 174- Extending the Opioid Disaster on Monday, March 20, 2017
Leading up to the major budget discussion on the floor, we all met in subcommittees to hear presentations from different programs about the revisions they have made in an effort to reduce their budgets and deliver high quality services more efficiently. Each of those subcommittee meetings was posted with relevant documents on the the Alaska Legislature website here.

This was a good and honest process where we were able to hear from various members of the body, representatives of programs, and constituents about the best way to ensure Alaska is a great place to live and raise a family, while still tightening our fiscal belts.
We spent 32.5 hours in budget discussions on the floor this week- an unprecedented amount of time compared to the average of 12-14 hours in previous years. We were able to make informed, responsible decisions about our fiscal policy, and ended with a budget $82 million smaller than last years. The House finished after hearing over 130 amendments, shortly before our deadline on Friday.  

Representative Spohnholz meets with constituents from
Facing Foster Care in Alaska on March 12, 2017
Monday morning the House passed a fully funded budget that protects public safety, education, and services for the most vulnerable members of our community.

To make sure funding for the budget is fair and balanced in future years, we will now begin to look toward deeper conversations about revenue generating measures like a progressive state income tax, the restructure of the PFD, and reduction of oil and gas tax subsidies, which have been overwhelmingly favored by Alaskans.

Opioid Disaster Declaration
I was honored to carry legislation on the House Floor this week extending the Governor's disaster declaration for the opioid epidemic.

Extending the declaration of emergency ensures access to life-saving naxolone to people and families who are struggling with addiction.

More information can be found here.
Rep. Spohnholz at the signing of SB 91 Extending the Opioid Disaster on Monday, March 20, 2017
Opportunities to Testify
There are a lot of important items up for consideration in the House Health and Social Services Committee and we are hearing public testimony! If you are interested in commenting on the following items, please head down to your Anchorage LIO on Thursday, March 23rd 2017 from 3-5pm:
  • HB 138- Making March Sobriety Awareness Month

  • HB 151- Children Deserve a Loving Home Act

  • HCR 2- Responding to Adverse Childhood Experiences

  • HCR 3- Declaring Apil Child Abuse Awareness Month

To find out more about opportunities for public testimony, check here!

  Anchorage Votes
Early voting for the Municipal Election has started! Information on early voting in person can be found here. You can vote at the following locations:

  •  City Hall M-F from 8am-5pm
  • Loussac Library Mon- Saturday from 10am-6pm

You can also vote via fax, mail, or email. Find more information on distance voting here.

Voting in local elections an easy way to influence the decisions that impact you every day, and every vote counts in these small elections. Please make sure your voice is heard! 

Click the Pics! Learn About Community Councils
There is so much opportunity in your community to be involved and share your ideas. I want to hear them! Make sure to reach out to my office with your innovative ideas.

Keep in touch!