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Proud to serve
March 2nd, 2012
Friends and Neighbors,
We are half way through the 2012 Legislative Session. What happens in the next 45 days is crucial to many Alaskans. In the Interior, we need energy relief, jobs and education funding. I will continue to work on issues important to the Interior.
Public Testimony: Operating Budget
The House Finance Committee will take public testimony this week on the FY13 Operating Budget. The operating budget contains funds for the cost of state government, the University, and programs across Alaska.
The Fairbanks testimony opportunity:
Date: Wednesday, March 7th
Location: Legislative Information Office. 1292 Sadler Way, 3rd Floor Alaska USA Federal Credit Union building next to Home Depot.
Testimony will be limited to 2 minutes. Please sign up at least 15 minutes before 2:45 to ensure your chance to testify. If you cannot make it to the LIO, need special assistance or have questions, please contact the LIO at 452-4448.
Emergency Energy Relief
Interior residents need help now with high electrical and fuel bills. My electrical bill has never been higher and I have heard from residents some with double and triple energy costs. As a short-term emergency relief, I have co-sponsored House Bill 336 that would give help to qualified individuals. The bill would allow residents to choose from 250 gallons of heating oil,
Rep. Guttenberg on the House Floor
an equivalent of natural gas, or 1,500-kilowatt hours of electricity. For those who do not use any of the above heating sources they could select to receive $250.
We need long-term projects like a gas line and Susitna dam to lower to the costs of energy. Nevertheless, relief right now should supplement these long-term projects. The Interior and rural Alaska are continuing to suffer as the state coffers fill from the high prices of oil. We should be using some of that wealth to help people from the downside of high oil prices.
A Safety Net for Children
According to AARP, Alaska has over 8,000 children living with grandparents. Medicare does not allow for dependent coverage. Families who are insured under ACHIA also cannot put their healthy children on their plan. In situations such as these, most families would be able to purchase an individual plan to cover their children. However, in Alaska all insurance companies have stopped offering individual child plans.
I have filed legislation that requires insurance companies operating in Alaska to sell a child only health insurance coverage plan. I have requested a hearing for HB 326 in the House Labor and Commerce Committee. We need help getting this bill through the Legislature in the next short months. Please take a moment to look at the legislation and sponsor statement.
If this is something you support, please send me a letter, e-mail or fax that I can send on to the House Labor and Commerce committee chair.
Keeping In Touch
In the frenzy, keeping up with what is happening in Juneau can be a challenge. Bills are starting to move through committees and the Finance committees are putting the budget together. Here are some ways to stay in the loop on what is going on:
· The website, where you can research and track bills: http://w3.legis.state.ak.us
· Gavel to Gavel, where you can watch the Legislature online: http://gavelalaska.org/
· 360 North TV, where you can watch the Legislature on TV: Channel Listing in Fairbanks
· The Legislature's iPhone and iPad App, which can be found here: Download the Alaska Legislature App
Thank you for reading and please feel free to call my office and share your ideas.
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