April 12, 2017
Opportunities to Testify
    Click the pic to see an up-to-date calendar   

Scroll and click to learn more about: 

  • Community Events

  • Opportunities to Testify

  • Reform Bills

  • Tough Conversations
As the end of the session approaches, things tend to change quickly. I encourage you to check the calendar frequently to see if public testimony has been rescheduled.
  Click the pic to see an up-to-date calendar  

There are several opportunities to testify this week:
  • HB 197- Community Seed Gardens on Wed. 4/12 at 1pm
  • HB 118- Compensation for Wrongful Convictions on Thurs. 4/13 at 3pm
  • HB 1- Election Registration and voting Fri. 4/14 at 1pm
Community Events
Reform Bills
Rep. Sponholz testifies on the House Floor on Friday, April 7th, 2017
In the final week of the 90 day session, the house has passed some great pieces of legislation and had some tough conversations that will determine how things move forward regarding the budget.

Let's start with the good news: In the past week the house unanimously passed HB 31, a bill that continues to reform Alaska's broken system for the processing of rape kits. 

The bill improves training for law enforcement, and requires a statewide audit of untested kits. In addition, the bill establishes three reporting options for people who experience sexual assault:

  • Victims can file a formal law enforcement report, get a forensic exam, and participates in the criminal justice process.
  • Victims can choose to provide identifying information, get a forsenic exam, and not move forward with the criminal justice process.
  • Victims can choose to anonymously report, get a forensic exam, and decline to move forward with the criminal justice process.

This bill establishes a high quality of care for victims and, we hope, will encourage victims of sexual assault to report the incident and receive care. I am proud of my colleagues for banding together to combat sexual assault in our state, and serve victims appropriately.

On Monday, the House also passed HB 111 that proposes to restructure the oil and gas tax credit system that so many Alaskans oppose. The bill includes provisions to:
  • Eliminate cash payments to oil companies long before oil companies produce enough oil to owe taxes.
  • Allow oil and gas companies to carry forward their losses until they do produce enough oil to generate a tax.
  • Reduce the net operating loss credits by 10% each year after seven years.
  • Lower the tax rate from 35% to 25%.
Rep. Spohnholz participates in the a press availability with members of the Alaska House Majority Coalition.

This bill is a fair compromise that fixes many flaws in the oil tax system, while still making sure Alaska is a great place for oil and gas companies to do business. We expect it to generate $100 million to $200 million in new revenue at oil prices between $40 and $100 per barrel, while leaving revenues nearly unchanged at higher prices. This reform is an essential part of the House Majority Coalition's four-pillar fiscal plan. You can find more information on the fiscal plan here.

Tough Conversations
There is a lot of concern right now about services that are now in jeopardy after the Senate released their proposed budget cuts. As we have said all session, more cuts are going to jeopardize critical services.

The Senate majority‚Äôs proposed budget makes dramatic and damaging cuts to:  Pre-K for at-risk children, K-12 public education, efforts to decrease domestic violence and sexual assault, front line social workers for abused children, public health, the University of Alaska and, as so many of you have noticed, vital services for seniors including Pioneer Homes.  

My colleagues and I in the House will continue to fight for funding to seniors, schools, and social programs that people in our state need most in times like these. Budget cuts hurt people, and they make recessions worse by increasing job loss. All of these cuts can be reversed if the Senate recognizes that we need to generate more revenue through a sustainable fiscal plan. 

I look forward to working with my colleagues to continue to fight for a fair and balanced fiscal plan that protects jobs and vital services to people in need. Please continue to reach out with your concerns and innovative ideas.