Leg with louie: Governor Dunleavy heads to the Kenai Peninsula

Dear Friends,

The Governor’s operating budget for Alaska was improved by House Finance and sent from the full House this week with increases to the Alaska Marine Highway System, Pioneer Homes, Public Broadcasting, and reduced less than the Governor requested in many other areas. The bill – still a grim and diminished vision for Alaska – headed to the Senate for consideration. The Governor, for his part, headed out of town to some hastily announced town hall meetings to talk about state services, and the PFD (the size of which will be debated by the legislature in the second half of this session).

Reports from the March 2 Chugiak town-hall are that if the Governor is looking for support in continuing to ransack state services that don’t directly benefit the Mat-Su, he came to the right place. Maybe he needs to hear something different than that, so he decided to hold meetings, announced rather cagily last minute, in Kenai, Seward, and Homer.  

The meeting schedule is as follows: 
Monday, March 9, 12-1 p.m. Joint Kenai/Soldotna Chamber Luncheon – Soldotna Regional Sports Complex 
Monday, March 9, 6-8 p.m. Kenai, Kenai Central High School
Tuesday, March 10, 5-7 p.m. Seward, AVTEC Gym
Wednesday, March 11, 5-7, Homer, Land’s End Resort

What is the angle here? Are these meetings to stave off the second round of recall signatures by appearing accessible? Are they to preemptively justify future budget vetoes, or alternatively to justify maintaining the modest increases made by the legislature? Are they really “conversations with Alaskans”? Can you really set the table for a conversation with three days advance notice? You judge.  

The best a Kenai Peninsula resident can do with this mystery tour is show up and tell the Governor what state services are important to you. For instance, if you live in Homer or Seward and are involved in the mariculture industry, tell the Governor you support the changes the House made to the budget for the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), which will allow shellfish growers to stay in business. If you are a Coast Guard family unable to move your possessions from Homer to Kodiak, tell the Governor what the Marine Highway means to you and why you support the additional funding the House provided for it. If you catch fish for a living, your culture, or your family, tell the Governor you support the DEC Oil Spill Prevention and Response program. Let him know you disagree with his proposed cuts that push it past to the point of dysfunction.

The Governor can do as he will with the budget – he has the numbers to prevent a veto-override vote thanks to Peninsula legislators Sarah Vance and Ben Carpenter and a tiny minority of loyalists. The work in the legislature this session is about budget compromise with the Governor.  The leverage the public has is with the recall and the legislative elections ahead. A robust turn-out to these meetings can send a clear message that Alaskans will be holding our elected officials accountable.

Mark your calendars,

hearings to watch

Monday, March 9th

12:00 p.m. Lunch & Learn:
“The impact of forever chemicals.” by Rob Billot, Attorney, Author, & International Speaker on PFOA’s & PFA’s

Sponsored by Reps. Tarr, Hannan, Zulkosky, &
Sen. Kiehl

1:00 p.m. H)RESOURCES
*+HB 240 REGULATE PFAS USE; FIRE/WATER SAFETY
— Testimony <Invitation Only> —
+=HB 138NATIONAL RESOURCE WATER DESIGNATION
— Testimony <Invitation Only> —

1:30 p.m. S)JUDICIARY
+SJR 13CONST. AM: PROHIBIT ABORTION/FUNDING
— Testimony <Invitation Only> —
+Presentation:
SJR 13 Slide Presentation by Lisa Hart, Staff to
Senator Hughes

3:00 p.m. H)HEALTH & SOCIAL SERVICES
+Presentation: Impact of Forever Chemicals & the Health Effects of PFOA & PFOS-Related
Contamination by: – Rob Bilott, Author of Exposure: Poisoned Water,Corporate Greed, & One Lawyer’s Twenty-Year Battle Against DuPont – Alaska Community Action on Toxics
— Testimony <Invitation Only> —

Tuesday, March 10

9:00 a.m. (H)FINANCE
+HB 181PUBLIC SCHOOLS: MENTAL HEALTH EDUCATION

9:00 a.m. (H)LEGISLATIVE COUNCILJoint Committee*
+Ranked-Choice Voting Initiative Hearing per AS 24.05.186 by- Cori Mills, Dept. of Law – Megan Wallace & Noah Klein, Legislative Legal – Gail Fenumiai, Div. of Elections

1:00 p.m. (H)TRANSPORTATION
+=HB 253SALE, TRANSFER, OR DISPOSAL OF FERRIES
— Public Testimony —
+SB 115MOTOR FUEL TAX; EV REG. FEE
— Testimony <Invitation Only> —

3:00 p.m. H)STATE AFFAIRS
+=HB 250VOTER REGISTRATION AGETELECONFERENCED
— Public Testimony —

3:30 p.m. (S)COMMUNITY & REGIONAL AFFAIRS
+=SB 194ADVANCED NUCLEAR REACTORSTELECONFERENCED
— Public Testimony —

12:00 p.m. Lunch & Learn: Maritime Operations’ Present & Future Impact on Alaska’s Economy & Welfare by Captain Ed Page Sponsored by Rep. Hannan

1:00 p.m. H)RESOURCES
+=HB 138NATIONAL RESOURCE WATER DESIGNATION
— Testimony <Invitation Only> —
+=HB 151ELECTRIC RELIABILITY ORGANIZATIONS
— Testimony <Invitation Only> —

3:30 p.m. S)RESOURCES
+=SB 161GEOTHERMAL RESOURCES
— Public Testimony —
+Presentation:
Geothermal Resources by Steve Masterman, DGGS
Director

Thursday, March 12

8:00 a.m. H)TRIBAL AFFAIRS Special Committee
*+HJR 29ANTI-DISCRIMINATION ACT OF 1945

1:00 p.m. H)TRANSPORTATION
+=SB 115MOTOR FUEL TAX; EV REG. FEE
— Public Testimony —

Friday, March 13

9:00 a.m. (S)FINANCE
+SB 155EXPLORATION & MINING RIGHTS; ANNUAL LABOR
— Public Testimony —

1:00 p.m. H)RESOURCES
+=HB 240REGULATE PFAS USE; FIRE/WATER SAFETY
— Public Testimony —

1:30 S)JUDICIARY
+=SJR 13CONST. AM: PROHIBIT ABORTION/FUNDINGTELECONFERENCED
— Public Testimony —

3:15 p.m. H)LABOR & COMMERCE
+HB 27REGULATION OF FLAME RETARDANT CHEMICALS
— Public Testimony —

3:30 p.m. (S)RESOURCES
*+SJR 15STATE FULL SHARE OF PROFITS IN ANWR
— Testimony <Invitation Only> —

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