Alaska State Senate Legislative Update

by Senator Lyman F. Hoffman

March 1st, 2019


We are at the half-way mark of the 90-day session. This week the Senate Finance Committee completed the agency budget overviews from the departments of Labor, Administration, Commerce, Governor and Revenue. The committee also received a full budget overview from our Legislative Finance Division Director.

On Thursday, the Senate Finance Committee considered Commissioner-designee Kelly Tshibaka with the Department of Administration. The committee also received an update on our state investment funds and cash flow deficiency from the Department of Revenue. And finally, the committee heard and moved three bills; SB 25 Extend Board of Dental Examiners; SB 29 Extend Board of Marine Pilots and SB 36 Extend Board of Nursing.

The Education Senate Finance Subcommittee held its first meeting and received an overview of the Governor’s proposed budget for 2020. The Governor’s proposal for this agency will negatively impact all our children. Be assured that I will give plenty of opportunity for Alaskans to weigh-in on this budget.

The Committee on Community and Regional Affairs was presented an overview of the 2020 Census and its issues.

Below is a brief report for your review.

If you have any questions on the Governor’s proposed budget, please give my office a call or send an email to [email protected].

Things are starting to move along, stay tuned!

Senate Community & Regional Affairs 2-26-19

The Senate Community and Regional Affairs Committee viewed a presentation from the 2020 Census Alaska Complete Count Commission (ACCC). It is critical for the constituents of District S to be counted correctly in the 2020 Census! Each year the state of Alaska receives $3.2 billion annually from the Federal Government based on the reporting of the census. 70 different federal programs rely on the reporting from the census to determine federal funding allocations.

Programs include: Medical Assistance Program, SNAP, Medicare Part B, TANF, Highway Planning & Construction, Federal Pell Grant Program, National School Lunch Program, Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers, Special Education Grants, and Title 1 Grants to Local Education Agencies.

The Census has estimated the average loss of Federal funding for each Alaska Native person that goes uncounted in 2020 to be $3,000/person. That’s equivalent to the 2020 proposed PFD! Think about it in those terms! The ACCC outlined “Threats to an Accurate Count in 2020” directly impact rural residents:

• The Census Bureau will not conduct P.O. box outreach to remote Alaska in 2020.

• Forms and other materials will be translated into 12 different languages, none of them Alaska Native languages.

• Funding levels for the Federal Census are at an all time low.

State Non-profits were asked to participate in the actual counts and to contribute to the financial side of making sure of the accuracy. If you’re community is looking to participate in the 2020 Census Alaska Complete Count, contact Mike Walsh at Foraker Group, or State Demographer Eddie Hunsinger for more details.

Eddie Hunsinger: [email protected] (P) 907-269-4960 State Demographer

Mike Walsh: [email protected] Director of Policy, The Foraker Group

Gabe Layman: [email protected], Chair, Alaska Census Working Group

The deadline to file PFD Applications: 3/31/19