March 10, 2023

Dear Friends and Neighbors:

On Tuesday the governor introduced two bills, and I have already received quite a bit of feedback about them.  House Bill 105, SEX/REPRODUCTION EDUCATION; SCHOOLS, is a “parental rights in education” bill and HB 106, TEACHER RECRUITMENT; LUMP SUM PAYMENT, provides bonus pay to teachers.

These bills both present an opportunity for the legislature to have meaningful conversations about our schools, and I welcome these conversations. However, I do have some concerns with HB 105.  My career in education has been built on nurturing relationships with families and students in order to make sure each child has the best chance at learning, growing and having choices about the direction they go after their K-12 education.  For all children in Alaska to have a rewarding school experience we need high quality teachers – the struggle to staff schools has grown, and I appreciate the governor’s recognition that this problem is greatest in the most rural and remote parts of the state in HB 106.  I look forward to the conversations ahead.


I welcome your feedback on these bills. Please email me at, or call my office at (907) 465-3732, with comments on these bills or with general questions, suggestions or concerns. If you are going to be in Juneau, I look forward to meeting with you. Just call ahead and set up a time with my office staff. 

Also of note, next Friday there will not be a Southeast Swell. The week of March 19th, we will start sending out Southeast Swell on Mondays. We hope the newsletter will be a nice way for you to start your week and it will continue to help you follow the legislature.

Transboundary Mines 

On Tuesday, I welcomed the Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Jason Brune into my office with a delegation from the British Columbia Ministry of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation to discuss progress on the Tulsequah Chief Mine clean up and how to protect the watersheds of Southeast Alaska from upriver threats in the future. This meeting was followed by a press conference with President Richard Chalyee Éesh Peterson from Tlingit and Haida, Joe Nelson, president of the Sealaska Board, and Representatives Dan Ortiz and Sara Hannan to express our solidarity in working toward solutions that correct the past and protect the future. 

Remote Truckers

In a meeting with the Alaska Trucking Association this week I was able to inquire about the issues surrounding commercial driving licenses (CDL) for remote drivers. Due to a change in federal rules, the waiver allowing Entry Level Driver Training for remote communities has currently lapsed, which means anyone seeking a CDL in all the communities of House District 2 has to travel to Juneau to complete their training on a road system with underpasses and stoplights. While this issue isn’t yet resolved, spokespeople for the industry assured us a solution is being sought. I am committed to learning about the issues that impact rural communities across the state and finding solutions that serve Alaskans in these remote areas.

Education Committee

The Education Committee heard three bills this week:

HB 71, SCHOOL DISTRICT ONLINE CHECKBOOK: This bill would require districts to provide an “open checkbook” program to make their budgets even more transparent. I am a fan of transparency, but not unfunded mandates, and the bill did not address the cost to districts of the program and administrative time.

HB 65, INCREASE BASE STUDENT ALLOCATION: This bill would increase the Base Student Allocation by $1250. After six years of flat funding, while fixed costs have risen with inflation by about 24%, it isn’t surprising school districts are asking the state to fulfill the constitutional mandate for the legislature to “establish and maintain a system of public schools…” I am a co-sponsor on this bill.

HB 9, ADD FACULTY MEMBER UNIV BOARD OF REGENTS: This bill would add a faculty member to the Board of Regents for the university. It seems valuable to have faculty voice on this important board and I plan to support this bill.

Fisheries Committee

The House Fisheries Committee Considered HB 92, FISHERMEN’S FUND: VESSEL OWNER CLAIMS: This bill would raise the amount available to a vessel captain from the Fishermen’s Fund to match a crewmember’s rate of $10,000. Created before statehood in 1951 the Fishermen’s Fund receives revenue from each resident and nonresident commercial fisherman’s license and permit fee and is available to help with expenses in the event a fisherman is injured on the job. I support making the amount the vessel owner and the crew member can receive the same.

In the House this Week

Most of the work this week was in budget subcommittee as we close out the subcommittee process for fiscal year 2024. It’s a very involved process but it is comforting to know state agency budgets are given a careful look each year prior to going to the full finance committee in each body. As a reminder, the House and Senate develop their versions of the operating and capital budgets and then conference committees, with members from each body, meet late in the session to work out the differences in the budgets.  

What You Can Do

File your PFD Application

  • The PFD offices will be open to the public on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 10:00 AM - 4:00 PM, except for state holidays. The PFD offices will be closed to the public on Thursdays.

Watch the House Education Committee on Monday, March 13, 2023 at 8:00 am

  • This coming Monday, at 8:00 the House Education Committee will be considering four bills. The meetings can be streamed live from the legislative and gavel to gavel websites. Please note that testimony is by invitation only. The bills being considered are below:

Watch the Senate Resources Committee on Monday, March 13, 2023 at 3:30 pm

  • On Monday at 3:30 pm the Senate Resources Committee will hear my resolution, HJR 5, ALASKA FISHERIES; TROLL FISHERIES. This meeting will also be streamed live on the  legislative and gavel to gavel websites.  The committee will hear from three invited testifiers:
  • Amy Daugherty, Executive Director, Alaska Trollers Association
  • Tim O’Connor, Commercial Troller and Craig Mayor
  • Dani Evenson, ADFG, Treaty Coordinator

Follow the Legislature and Comment

  • If there is a bill or resolution you want to follow, you can get an email update every time action is taken on the legislation with the Bill Tracking Management Facility.