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Anchorage, AK 99501
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Juneau, AK 99801
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EMAIL: Gov. Sean Parnell
Senator Mark Begich,
EMAIL: Sen. Mark Begich
Congressman Don Young,
EMAIL: Rep. Don Young
Senator Lisa Murkowski,
April 19, 2012
Special Session Update
The 27th Alaska Legislature concluded shortly after midnight on Sunday, April 15. Minutes later, the governor called us into special session starting yesterday primarily for three issues:
The first is an oil tax bill introduced by the governor as House Bill 3001. This has elements from a variety of prior oil tax bills rolled into one. The legislature will have to closely analyze the bill to determine whether a reduction in taxes will actually promote more production and generate new revenues and jobs for the state.
Second is House Bill 9 which will continues work on a small diameter pipeline as a backup plan to other energy projects. We still don't know the status of new gas finds in Cook Inlet, or whether the Susitna Dam or a large-diameter pipeline will be built. This passed the House during regular session, but not the Senate.
Third is House Bill 359, which the legislature passed today. This strengthens penalties for human trafficking and sex offenses in Alaska. Originally, state law only recognized the crime of trafficking when victims are transported across state lines. We now closed that loophole and allow law enforcement to prosecute traffickers who prey on victims within state borders.
Rep. Tuck packing his office for transport back to Anchorage.
On the final day of regular session a great deal of legislation came together through last minute negotiations. Several bills were combined to implement an increase in K-12 education funding and expand educational opportunities throughout Alaska which includes:
• Vocational Education – additional $5.9 million extending the program to 7th and 8th graders.
• Pupil Transportation – a new formula that increased funding for pupil transportation by more than $11.5 million that included an $8 million supplemental.
• Parents as Teachers – This incorporates my own legislation (HB49) to expand this successful Pre-K system statewide. This voluntary program educates parents with children under five years of age about early brain development and how to take advantage of learning opportunities to better prepare children for entry to the classroom. This is the most cost effective plan available and has been proven to boost educational performance right from the start.
Among the other accomplishments of the session:
• Autism insurance coverage. Research shows early intervention is critical to helping autistic children lead happy, productive lives and saves money in the long run.
• Film production incentives, to promote the film industry in Alaska, creating jobs and raising the profile of our state.
• Incentives for natural gas drilling in interior Alaska, to help lower energy costs around the state.
Overall the session concluded successfully with reasonable capital and operating budgets that provide essential services and infrastructure investment while allowing us to put $2 billion into the state savings account.
I am particularly pleased to have successfully pushed for over $3 million for neighborhood street repairs in our area, funding for technology and new library books for Campbell Elementary, and assistance for the local food pantry.
I’ll keep you posted as the special session progresses. In the meantime, please keep in touch!
Alaska State Representative
District 29 – Anchorage