Senator Berta Gardner

April 22, 2014

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Serving Midtown, Spenard, and UMed

State Capitol Bldg. Rm 417
Juneau, AK 99801
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Day 90 Plus 2

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

Senator Gardner on the steps of the capitol building in mid-February advocating to provide classrooms with the resources they need.
Senator Gardner on the steps of the capitol building in mid-February advocating to provide classrooms with the resources they need.

         Good Morning from Juneau. Today is day 92 of the 90 day legislative session. I wanted to provide you with an update from yesterday’s Senate Floor Session:

House Bill 19: This allows owners of non-commercial trailers (of any age) and personal-use vehicles older than 8 years to get permanent vehicle registration with the DMV.  The bill passed with 18 yays and 2 nays. I was one of the nays because I feel we should be equitable on lowering fees for all users, not just for a small subset.

House Bill 32: This allows all of a business’ activities to be included in a single business license, instead of requiring purchase of multiple licenses to cover diverse business activities. The bill would also allow a business license to be corrected or changed for free, one time during its term. The bill passed 20 to 0.

House Bill 143: This raised the resident or non-resident which will be limited to one $30 7-day commercial crew member license per year; however, if the person purchases an annual license in the same year, they are entitled to a $30 refund for the purchase of the 7-day license. The bill passed the Senate 20 to 0.

House Bill 160: This creates a mandatory licensing law and regulates the practice of athletic training.  The practice of athletic training is defined to include treatment of an athlete for injury or illness prevention, immediate care of an athlete for an injury sustained while participating in a sport, and rehabilitation and reconditioning of an athlete.  The bill passed the Senate 18 to 2.

House Bill 169: This eliminates the authority of the Regulatory Commission of Alaska to require or regulate the production and distribution of telephone directories. This passed the Senate 20 to 0. Six years ago, I carried similar legislation. I am glad this will become law and cut down on a massively wasteful product which is almost obsolete.

House Bill 193: This will increase cooperation and reciprocal information sharing between the state and municipalities regarding taxes on tobacco products, resulting in greater efficiency, reduced willful tax evasion, and increased collections of legally due taxes.  The bill passed the senate 19 to 0.

House Bill 268: This would allow the Tanana Valley Sportsmen Association to raise funds for their organization and for the UAF Rifle Team by selling derby tickets during the fall moose hunting season related to the biggest bull moose harvested. A person can purchase a ticket without having to hunt. This passed the Senate 20 to 0.

House Bill 282: This makes a variety of changes to the laws governing landlord and tenant rights and responsibilities.  It establishes a fall back if there is no lease and it establishes a relationship between Landlord and Tenant (L&T) that is often not understood and abused. The bill also addresses: Allowing extra pet deposits, defining normal wear and tear, tenant confirming property condition before occupancy, allowing rental of houses without running water, such as dry cabins, allowing landlord to limit number of occupants based on applicable law, allowing eviction for apparent illegal activities, such as prostitution or drug dealing, permitting landlords to claim tenants’ PFD’s for unpaid rent or damages and brings forward the ADA definition of “service animals” as opposed to “comfort animals.” This passed the Senate 17 to 3. I supported this bill because I believe it clarified things for both the landlord and tenant.

         And lastly,

House Bill 278: The Omnibus Education bill. This bill does a host of things: provides grants for innovative learning, expanding charter school access and equity, removes the High School Graduation Exit Exam, allows a process for teachers of low performing schools to postpone jury duty service, changes school bond debt reimbursement from 70/30 to 60/40, increased boarding school stipends, increases required local contribution to education among other things.  The bill includes elements which are believed to unconstitutional .  The key fail, however, is  adequate funding and funding through the statute known as Base Student Allocation. The Senate striped all increments and insisted on one time funding in the form of a block grant.   I voted no on the bill. It passed 16-4.  Later the House failed to concur with the Senate’s changes which means the house and Senate will go to conference committee to hash out an agreement.

         Hopefully the conference committee will do the right thing by adequately funding education and the Legislature will gavel out tomorrow afternoon.

         I’m Berta and I’m still listening,

         If you have any questions, please feel free to contact my office

signed: Berta

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