The 2021 Legislative Session starts today, with COVID precautions in place. It will be a different year (whatever that means anymore). For one thing, the introduction of visitors from around the state in the gallery to the ovation of House or Senate members - one of the great, humanizing formalities of legislative floor sessions, will be missing this year. Also, all of the dignitaries, subject matter experts, lobbyists, bloggers, and professional hangers-on will be off-site and socially distanced, holed up in offices or out on the sidewalk whispering into cell phones. Access to your favorite legislators will be via Zoom meetings.
Alaska has a well-oiled system of distance delivery for the public process. Our network of legislative information offices may be closed to walk-in traffic at present. Still, they are staffed by very helpful individuals who you can call any time during business hours for answers to all of your specific legislative process questions. We have AKLegislative TV, Gavel to Gavel, and call-in numbers for those without internet. Most legislators worth their salt provide regular email updates touting their accomplishments and what they are working on in committee. If they don’t provide regular updates, ask them to.
This year, you are in luck if you happen to be a person interested in the budget, expenditure vs. income questions, the Earnings Reserve of the permanent fund, public health, COVID relief packages past, present, and future, voting rights, and police reform. All of these items, and more, are on the table as the 32nd Alaska State Legislature gets down to business.
We at The Alaska Center will track the legislative session, provide weekly updates, highlight opportunities for public testimony, and advocate for a variety of issues this session in the following subject buckets:
- Voting Rights/Increased Democracy
- Clean Energy Jobs for a post-COVID economic recovery and a Just Transition.
- Good Government/Transparency
- Salmon Protection/Climate Change Resilience
We look forward to hearing from you as the session progresses.
Government Affairs Director
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