As a member of the tri-partisan House Majority, I am co-chairing the State Affairs Committee, which has jurisdiction over the Department of Administration, Department of Corrections, and Office of the Governor, as well as other subjects such as Constitutional amendments. Traditionally, State Affairs also receives many referrals on bills addressing criminal justice reform, along with the Judiciary Committee. Here are my thoughts on a few of the important topics that this committee will consider:
- Public Safety: In its first week of hearings, our committee is considering two bills to close sexual assault prosecution loopholes, and to strengthen domestic violence victims’ ability to obtain protective orders. I look forward to working with colleagues on these and other important public safety reforms.
- Public Radio: The Governor's bill to eliminate funding for Alaska Public Media has been referred to State Affairs. I do not support this bill.
- Constitutional Amendments: The Governor’s three proposed Constitutional amendments, which would create massive funding shortfalls for education and public safety, have been referred to State Affairs. I do not support these proposals.
- Ocean Ranger: By popular initiative, Alaska voters established the Ocean Ranger program to prevent illegal dumping of waste from cruise ships. It is paid for by a $4 per cruise ship passenger user fee. The Governor has proposed legislation to eliminate this program, and that bill has been referred to State Affairs. I strongly support the Ocean Ranger program, which is paid by tourists and doesn’t cost the state General Fund any money.
I am also a member of the Labor and Commerce Committee, Energy Committee, and Committee on Arctic Policy, Economic Development, and Tourism. Through this committee work, I will be focused on fighting for working families and defending the values enshrined in our Alaska Constitution.
Knik Arm Zombie Boondoggle:
The Governor recently issued an administrative order un-blocking the expenditure of state funds on the Knik Arm Crossing boondoggle. Alaska has already wasted over $130 million studying a project that is uneconomical and will never get built. We should invest our limited state capital dollars in projects that have local support, promote strong local economies, and actually put Alaskans to work. The Knik Arm Crossing “project” is a black hole for waste, and the Governor’s resurrection of this zombie boondoggle belies his claims to be concerned about fiscal prudence.
Alaskans Speak Out Against Dunleavy/Arduin Budget:
Thanks to the 400+ people who packed the first Anchorage Caucus town hall this past Saturday. I heard loud and clear opposition to the Dunleavy/Arduin budget, including cuts to public and higher education, health care, and programs for kids and seniors. Many Alaskans spoke out against privatization of the Alaska Psychiatric Institute (API). Not a single person spoke in support of the Dunleavy/Arduin budget, which some project to eliminate 16,000-20,000 jobs while gutting our public education system and taking away health insurance from tens of thousands of Alaskans. Please continue to share your views about the budget—I am listening.
Constituents in the Capitol:
Thank you to everyone who has stopped by my office in the last week! My door is always open, so please stop by Room 114 if you’re in Juneau during the session, or email
to schedule an appointment.