Volume 9: Issue 10                               April 15, 2017
 
 
Dear Friends and Neighbors,
 
The budget is a nightmare.  It cuts so much from the Pioneer Homes the state would have to close two of them.  It cuts $69 million out of K-12, after years of flat funding.  It cuts $22 million out of the University, after years of cuts.  It annihilates $7 million from the Alaska Marine Highway AND spends down the ferry fund to the point where we couldn't handle more than an extra quarter or two on the price of fuel without tying up a ship.
 
This is not the Alaska we want to live in. I'm working with my colleagues to fix this.  We've already made some progress on the Homes.  Now on to the highways and the schools.  Getting back to reasonable levels is going to take a hue and cry from Alaskans.  And it's going to take some new revenues.  So write a letter to the paper, email other legislators, and let them know it's time to fix things so this slash-and-burn approach to Alaska's economy can end.
 
How I Got This Way
 
 
These three women were all my teachers.  Barbara Potter, Louise Dawson, and Liz Lucas all taught me at various times from elementary through high school.  They're amazing, and I couldn't be luckier to have their guidance still today.  They visited the building as part of the Alaska Retired Educators' Association last week to talk about education funding and a sound retirement system for the next generation of teachers.
 
Shine a Light
 
The corner window on the Third Floor of the Capitol is the governor's office.  It's been bricked over for decades. When we did the seismic upgrades over the past few years,the governor said he wanted it open again.  Juneau's Ken Alper liked that as much as I did, so we got a copy of my dad's old campaign poster showing his light burning late into the night on the Third Floor of the Capitol, working for Alaskans.  I'm glad the light shines through that window again.
 
Fixing Stuff
 
 
Sometimes you just have to fix stuff that gets broken.  This year a group of city attorneys brought me a problem the legislature accidentally caused when it was fixing a different problem back in 1998.  So I introduced SB 100, which passed the Senate this week.
 
It gives Alaska's cities and boroughs back the power to place liens when someone won't pay what they owe the city.  Liens are a powerful, efficient tool to recover money owed, and Alaska law provides them for workers, mortgages, and pretty much every private sector business.  Without them as a tool, cities had to do some convoluted, inefficient stuff to collect, and that costs local taxpayers.
 
So SB 100 gives local government back an important tool for collecting what people owe.  It keeps all the rules we have now about being fair, but now it can go back to being efficient.
 
Haines' Habra Hits the Halls
 

Tony Habra is Superintendent of the Haines Borough School District.  He visited the office this week to talk about their successes, challenges, and what deep budget cuts could do to education in Haines.  We also took just a minute at the end of our meeting to talk jazz - I think I convinced him to come down for Juneau Jazz & Classics in May.
 
I forgot to get a photo, but Juneau superintendent Mark Miller also came by, with finance director David Means and Amy Lujan of the Alaska School Business Officials.  They cleared up some questions I had about how Juneau schools put dollars to work teaching kids.
 
Supremely Colorful
 

The United States Supreme Court has nine members again.  It's been a long time.  Some folks on my hallway in the Capitol gave us a chance to mark the occasion by coloring our favorite Supreme Court Justices.  So my staffer Jesse Kiehl had his daughters Tsifira and Adara come by the office to help us out.  They did a great job with Ruth Bader Ginsburg!
 

 
Thanks to these community members for
helping make Southeast a great place to live!
  • Digging Deep - Couer Alaska Kensington Gold Mine donated $40,000 for environmental sciences scholarships at UAS.  Again.  That's a great investment in Southeast Alaska.  Kudos!
  • All the Way with APK - The Father Andrew P. Kashevaroff State Library, Archives, & Museum is one of the finalists for a big award.  The National Medal for Museum and Library Service is the highest award in the country, and SLAM is one of 30 finalists.
    They do amazing work for people all across the state.  Way to go!
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.
Sincerely,
 
 
 
Dennis Egan
Alaska State Senator
District Q
Sen. Dennis Egan, State Capitol, 4th Avenue & Main Street, Juneau, AK 99801