February Legislative Update

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

It’s time that we protect the PFD. The House is working on the FY 2019 budget. With the likelihood that for the first time in this state’s history state services will be financed through the earnings reserve of the Permanent Fund, it is time that we put our money where our mouth is and protect the Permanent Fund Dividend. That is why I have co-sponsored HJR 23 to amend the Alaska State Constitution to put the dividend into the Constitution. I do not believe that we should finance state government on the backs of the hardworking men and women in this state who rely upon the dividend to make ends meet.

Since Alaska’s fiscal crisis came to a head, the Legislature has cut over $3 billion from the state’s budget. While I believe we need a comprehensive fiscal plan, we also need to find ways to more responsibly manage the state’s finances. This includes a spending cap to put downward pressure on our operating budget. For this reason, I have introduced HB 369, which would impose a state spending cap. I also supported HB 215, which has now passed the House. This would allow the Department of Health and Social Services to collect fees for things they are required to do like certifying and inspecting X-Ray and MRI devises. This bill assures that those who utilize such department services pay for them.

The Military and Veterans Affairs and Judiciary Committees on which I serve are working on HB 307. This bill continues to update the Alaska Code of Military Justice to make sure that it is in line with the U.S. Code of Military Justice. Moreover, I am honored to support HJR 17, which encourages Congress to allow Hmong veterans the right to be buried in national cemeteries. These veterans fought to protect US servicemen during the Vietnam War and deserve the recognition that they are due. I hope to see you at Anchorage Caucus or the Constituent Meeting, but if you can’t make it, please know that I am always available over the phone or via email.

Please stay in touch.

Gabrielle

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