Senator Dennis Egan's Newsletter
Sen. Dennis Egan, D-Juneau

       State Capitol, Room 417
       Juneau, AK 99801-1182

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Volume 8: Issue 8 March 26th, 2016

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

Fairbanks Students Helping Lead

Hannah Witherington, Leslie Drumhilla and Colby Freel
Hannah Witherington, Leslie Drumhilla and Colby Freel

Officers of the Associated Students of the University of Alaska Fairbanks stopped by my office to suggest changes to SB 174, a bill to allow guns on campuses.  Like the Juneau students who’ve talked to me, they’re against it the way it’s written now.  I’ve got a lot of concerns about it, too.  A whole lot.  They also discussed the need to complete at least one floor in the new Engineering Building.  We discussed how Fairbanks and UAS students could work together with Alumni to build a stronger foundation for the educational priorities we all share.

SB 88 Hearing – More Bang for Fewer Bucks!

Sen. Egan listens to Jerome A. Kristjanson’s testimony supporting SB 88.
Sen. Egan listens to Jerome A. Kristjanson’s testimony supporting SB 88.

My bill to give teachers, law enforcement, and other public servants a choice in their retirement plan got a hearing in the Community and Regional Affairs Committee this week.  We’re working with the Administration on a new fiscal analysis – I think it will show savings similar to the 2013 report: $70 million over 10 years!  SB 88 gives workers who want to make a career in public service the chance to earn pension, and lets those who want to serve briefly, or have more flexibility, the chance to choose a 401(k) type of account.  Not only does it save money up front, but reduced turnover will reduce training costs, too (we spend $150,000 on training and equipment in a State Trooper’s first few years!)

The Alaska Public Pension Coalition hired an actuary to look at the bill.  He made a really interesting presentation (which is not typical for actuaries.)  You can take a look through it here, and watch video of the bill hearing here.

Good Friday, Good People

Sen. Egan and Erin Hand
Sen. Egan and Erin Hand

Sen. President Kevin Meyer and Sen. Egan share a word while Gavel to Gavel Alaska’s Skip Gray stands by to broadcast Friday’s floor session to all Alaskans
Sen. President Kevin Meyer and Sen. Egan share a word while Gavel to Gavel Alaska’s Skip Gray stands by to broadcast Friday’s floor session to all Alaskans

I really enjoyed our Floor session Friday morning.  I got to introduce Erin Hand, who volunteered in my office most of the week, to the Senate.  Erin was a great help organizing emails, greeting visitors, and getting things ready for constituent visitors.  She’s a senior at Thunder Mountain High School and will be going to University of Alaska Southeast next year. 

I also got to help out my fellow Southeast senator Bert Stedman by introducing Sitka High School students and their teacher to the Senate.  Sen. Stedman also asked me to recognize the Sitka Wolves basketball team and their coach for saving lives on the road.  While in Anchorage for a tournament, they saw smoke and didn’t hesitate, alerting an apartment building full of people to a fire that had broken out.  It was an honor to recognize their tremendous efforts!

Veterans’ Caucus

On Tuesday morning, the legislature’s joint Veterans’ Caucus met.  It’s not a formal caucus that hatches strategy – we’re a group of both legislators and staff who served in uniform.  The point is to get people who ‘get it’ together and think about what we can do to make things work better for fellow vets.  I’m proud to be a member.

End of Session?

The governor sent all 60 legislators a letter this week.  It basically says he won’t let us go home unless we finish our work: a plan that puts our state on a sound financial footing.  I agree with him.

I also think there’s time to do it before the 90 days are up, if we work together as Alaskans.  I don’t like everything in the governor’s proposal, and he doesn’t like some of my suggestions. But we can get through all that.  If we kick the can down the road, we put Alaska’s future at real risk.

Kudos from Juneau

Thanks to these community members for
helping make Southeast
a great place to live!

No jokes, please – Patience Fredrickson is the new director of the Division of Libraries, Archives, and Museums.  She’ll head the team that opens SLAM to the public.  People tell me her staff is already making puns about her name, but I guess I don’t get it.  What’s funny about “Fredrickson?”

Midnight Sun – Kudos to Skagway’s Raymie Eatough, who started her own tourism business in the Gateway to the Klondike.  After 20 years of working in tourism, she became an entrepreneur and launched her American dream.  Good luck Raymie, and thanks for putting it out there!

Happy Holidays – Sunday is Easter and Monday is Seward’s Day.  I hope you get to spend them both with people you like!

Thanks for reading Legislative Corner.  I hope you'll always feel welcome to contact my office, just call, write, or use one of the links in this newsletter.

[signed] Dennis Egan

Dennis Egan
Alaska State Senator
District Q

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