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

       State Capitol, Room 417
       Juneau, AK 99801-1182

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Volume 7: Issue 13 April 24th, 2015

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

Weekly Highlights

We’re still here.  In session.  I love having everyone in the capital city.  I also wish we’d make an adjournment deal so they could go home.

Volunteers of the Year- First Lady Donna Walker picked 7 individuals from across the state who deserve recognition for their tireless dedication to make Alaska a better place for all.  Two of those were our very own Scott Fergusson of Auke Bay, and Lani Strong Hotch of Klukwan.  Lani spent a lifetime preserving the culture and artifacts of her ancestral Tlingit village. Lani also worked extensively with various museums, arts councils, and foundations. Scott was a tireless career fire fighter for Capital City Fire & Rescue and is a Scout leader who volunteers throughout the community.

Alaska Marine Highway System- Just when we had enough funding to keep the Alaska Marine Highway System afloat, restoring about $1.5 million from the Senate cuts, the conference committee put it back on the table.  Nothing’s decided, so I’ll keep fighting for ferry funding.

Governor’s Appointments- Almost all 90 of the Governor’s appointees got confirmed. I’m happy a handful of the commissioners will be joining us in the capital city year round.  I congratulate all the appointees who’ve been working so hard the last few months and thank everyone for stepping up to serve our state.

Marijuana Control Board- In the final days of the 90 day legislative session we surprised everyone and passed a bill creating a Marijuana Control Board.  This is a big change for our state and I plan to keep an eye on them as they write rules and regulations for commercial marijuana.

Cruise Passenger Head Tax- This is another item that’s waiting for a decision in the conference committee.  The $5 per passenger the state passes through to port cities has never caused a fiscal problem, and under federal law the money can’t go to Troopers or teachers or filling the budget gap. I’m working on it.

State Employee Contracts- This is one of the biggest pieces at play in the closed-door negotiations. We’re working hard to make sure Alaska keeps its word to our state employees and they get what was negotiated in good faith. 

Erin’s Law- Alaska children could get age-appropriate lessons in school about preventing sexual abuse if we pass Erin’s law.  It’s a big step – and an important one – to combat the high rate of sexual abuse and assault in our state. Bill sponsors like Sen. Gardner and Rep. Tarr have my full support as they push to get this important piece of legislation passed.  It really doesn’t matter whose name is on the bill, we just need to get it passed this session. 

Education Funding- Here’s the other biggie in the negotiations between the house majority and minority.  First and foremost I am against any cuts to public education. I want to see at least what was agreed to last year under HB 278.  I’ll keep fighting to restore funding for Alaska’s most precious resource: our children.

Medicaid Reform/Expansion- I support Governor Walker’s effort to reform Medicaid and expand services to Alaskans. Expansion will bring additional money into the State of Alaska, and save money in the operating budget.  Smart Medicaid reforms can save more.  Expansion will also give tens of thousands of Alaskans access to healthcare.  There are complex issues, but the legislature has had enough hearings to move on this.  It’s time to act.  We need to give the Governor and his team the tools to move forward.

Special Committee on Federal Overreach- I’m one of five senators on a task force charged with compiling two annual reports – due in January of 2016 and 2017 – about federal government overreach in Alaska.

Kudos from Juneau

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

  • Top 40 Under 40-A big Kudos to all of our state’s best and brightest young leaders.  This year’s honorees range from an owner of an organic baby food company to UAA’s Executive Director of the Center for Economic Development. I am most proud to congratulate the capital city’s Alexa Tonkovich.  She’s the International Program Director of the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute.
  • Kudos to the hard working staff at the local Juneau Foodbank.  Southeast Alaska Food Bank recently won a $5000 grant to help supplement low donation times.  The Rasmuson Foundation grants are awarded throughout Alaska in the hopes of making the state a better place for all Alaskans.

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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