by Senator Lyman Hoffman
We are on day 102nd. This week, the Senate Finance Committee is working on their FY20 budget recommendations to put before the full Senate for consideration. Many of you previously testified against Governor Dunleavy’s proposed budget cuts during public testimony. Thank you for taking the time to let us know of your concerns.
The Senate Finance Subcommittees completed their work last week and the full committee adopted their reports on Monday. The subcommittees budget numbers are above the Governor’s recommended cuts, but below the FY19 budget. The committee is continuing their work with considering budget amendments today and tomorrow. Following this, the budget will move to the full Senate next week for consideration then onto the Conference Committee.
One major item that currently remains undecided is the amount of the 2019 PFD distribution. Discussions will continue in both the House and the Senate on this item.
The Committee also heard the following legislation; SB 10 Extend Suicide Prevention Council; my bill, SB 74: Internet for Schools and SB 32: Crimes; Sentencing; Mental Illness; Evidence.
My other bill, SB 91: Nuyakuk River; Hydroelectric Site is scheduled next week, Tuesday April 30th in the Senate Finance Committee.
We are getting closer to the Constitutional 121 days for the Legislature. Reminder, once the Operating budget Conference Committee is appointed, we go to the 24-hour rule, meaning bills can move in 24-hours.
Community and Regional Affairs 4-25-19
Thursday was our last Community and Regional Affairs Meeting for the year. We heard three presentations on nuclear microreactors and their viability in Alaska. Currently there are 98 nuclear power plants that operate in 30 states. 19% of American’s electricity is produced by nuclear energy. Nuclear power is one of the only carbon free ways to produce baseload power.
In 2011 Alaska Center for Energy and Power at UAF did a study called, Small Scale Modular Nuclear Power: an option for Alaska? looking at the heating and electricity demands for communities that aren’t hooked up to hydroelectric.
One of the authors of the study Gwen Holdmann was in the committee meeting to testify on her findings. The study can be found at acep.uaf.edu under the publications tab.
At the Federal level, Sen. Murkowski has been a strong federal supporter of all things energy but has been particularly outspoken about the importance of nuclear energy when it comes to meeting our future energy demands. Sen. Murkowski has written a couple op-ed’s on the case for nuclear energy, including one recently in the ADN on 4-25-19 titled An Opportunity for Nuclear Energy in Alaska.