by Rep. Tiffany Zulkosky
March 6, 2020
Dear friends + neighbors,
We finally had a day of sunshine in Southeast. It was welcome after weeks of rain and snow! The FY21 operating budget is moving, I’ve been working to elevate focus on Bethel resident Rebecca Trimble’s story, and the Village Public Safety Officer (VPSO) bill is being considered in House Tribal Affairs. Please accept another update on my work in Juneau! Quyana.
What makes communities great? People like Rebecca Trimble.
During the House floor session on Wednesday morning, I rose to tell Bethel resident Rebecca Trimble’s story to my colleagues and every legislative office in Alaska’s Capitol building who were tuned in. Adopted from Mexico as a baby to an American couple living in the Pacific Northwest, Rebecca, who has been living in Bethel since 2017, is facing unjust treatment by U.S. Immigration.
Today I sent a letter to the U.S. Congressional Delegation about Rebecca’s unique circumstances. This letter was co-signed by 38 of my colleagues in both the House and Senate.
Concerned friends can join us in reaching out to Senator Murkowski, Senator Sullivan and Congressman Young, urging their advocacy for Rebecca and her family.
FY21 Operating Budget
This week, the House of Representatives passed an operating budget in record time, just 43 days. This year’s budget process was successful and timely thanks to the effective leadership of Finance Co-Chairs Neal Foster (D-Nome) and Jennifer Johnston (R-Anchorage).
The FY21 budget passed by the House reflects the importance of investing in public safety, education, health care and other critical services that protect and serve all Alaskans, especially rural Alaskans. The operating budget now moves over to the Senate. It is my hope that our colleagues in the other body will also protect the meaningful levels of funding for critical state services.
Special Committee on Tribal Affairs
This week in Tribal Affairs, we held the first hearings on HB 287, a bill relating to the Village Public Safety Officer (VPSO) program, introduced by Representative Kopp and co-sponsored by myself and Representatives Edgmon, Shaw, Foster, and Lincoln. HB 287 comes as a result of a bicameral, bipartisan working group created in 2019 to put forward a series of recommendations to strengthen and improve the VPSO program.
If passed, the bill would create more financial flexibility for VPSO grantees, mandate the State to pay grantees full indirect costs, update the VPSO statutes to remove ambiguities in existing law, and move the grant administration of the program from the Department of Public Safety to the Department of Commerce, Community & Economic Development.
Improving public safety in our region and across the state is one of my top priorities, and this bill takes a series of smart, commonsense steps in the right direction. The bill is scheduled for a third hearing, including the opportunity for public testimony, on Tuesday, March 10, at 8:00 a.m.
House Education Committee
The Education Committee has been hearing HB 236, a bill that would increase the base student allocation (BSA), funding for K-12 education. In public testimony, school administrators spoke to the difficulty of maintaining school facilities, retaining quality educators, and offering a wide variety of curriculum options with diminishing funds. Schools from rural Alaska spoke specifically about the high utility costs imposed by cold weather.
While this bill won’t alleviate challenges resulting from a decline in school funding over the long term, it provides incremental progress to offer financial stability for Alaska schools. Today I joined my colleagues in House Education in passing the bill out of committee. It now moves on to the House Finance Committee.
A very special visitor
This week I was proud to give my mom, Patricia Zulkosky, a peek behind my desk on the floor of the House. I also had the privilege to introduce her to my colleagues during floor session.
Thanks for visiting, Mom!
Elizabeth Peratrovich $1 Coins are here!
The new 2020 Native American $1 Coin design features Elizabeth Peratrovich and Alaska’s Anti-Discrimination Law. The coins are now in circulation and you can visit the U.S. Mint website to learn more.
Language Resources for 2020 Census
Along with voting, the Census is one of our most important civic duties as Americans and Alaskans. Accurate Census data determines voting districts, as well as the amount of federal money made available to our communities for health, housing, transportation and several other services. Be counted!
Alaska Counts has translated Census materials into various Alaska Native languages. Yup’ik language guides and PSAs are available below. You can also access all of the language resources here.
Central Yup’ik Census Language Guide
Hooper Bay Yup’ik and Chevak Cup’ik Census Language Guide
2.5 GHz Rural Tribal Window
This window is a unique opportunity for Tribes in rural areas to directly access unassigned spectrum over their Tribal lands, subject to buildout requirements. The 2.5 GHz band is suitable for both mobile coverage and fixed point-to-point uses, and is currently used to provide broadband service by legacy educational licensees and commercial providers that lease the spectrum.
Depending on your needs, it can play an important role in the deployment of broadband and other advanced communications services on your Tribal lands.
The Rural Tribal Priority Window opened Monday, February 3, 2020, and closes on Monday, August 3, 2020 at 6PM EDT.
Visit Us in Juneau!
If you will be in Juneau, please come visit me at the Capitol! Contact my office to schedule a time to stop in tosay hello. Also, if you are visiting on a day we have floor session, I would be thrilled to introduce you on the House Floor!
I would love to hear from you if you have a suggestion for a legislative citation of importance to District 38!
What is a citation? It is an official document expressing commendation, condolences, appreciation or congratulations to an individual or group.
There are two types of citations:
“Honorarium” recognizes a person, organization, or special occasion.
“In Memorium” honors someone who has recently passed away.
Please feel free to call or e-mail my office if you have any questions.
Contact me or my staff:
Office of Representative Tiffany Zulkosky
Alaska House District 38
Alaska State Capitol, Room 416
Juneau, Alaska 99801