by Rep. Tiffany Zulkosky
I’m looking forward to providing District 38 constituents with legislative updates about what’s happening in Juneau!
A Budget Amendment Passes to Fund Alaska State Defense Force for District 38 and Rural Alaska
On Tuesday, March 20, 2018, during the House of Representatives floor session, I had the honor to propose my first budget amendment to restore funding that will expand Rural Engagement for the Alaska State Defense Force. The amendment passed and will be included in the Operating Budget that is currently before the House for consideration.
This budget item will provide initial equipment and training for two 16-Soldier Detachments that will support Domain Awareness, initial response support, damage assessment, community pre-disaster mitigation, and communication operations. It is a volunteer program administered by the Alaska Department of Military and Veteran Affairs and aims to nurture and develop community leadership, increase emergency management capacity, strengthen community resiliency, and violence de-escalation.
This is an exciting opportunity to increase the program’s presence in rural areas throughout Alaska and District 38! I will monitor the status of the funding as the Operating Budget moves over to the Senate.
It was great to see Nelson Angapak (originally from Tuntutuliak) in Juneau this week! We took a few moments after Joint Armed Services Committee to get a photo with Major General Laurel Hummel, Commissioner of the Department of Military & Veteran Affairs.
During his visit to Juneau, Nelson spoke about the ongoing efforts to pass the Alaska Native Veterans Lands Allotment Equity Act through Congress. In 1998, Congress passed the Alaska Native Veterans Allotment Act, but many Native veterans who bravely fought during the Vietnam War Era were denied allotments. In addition to land base issues, language barriers, communication challenges, logistic hurdles, and health issues prevented some veterans from applying for allotments. This may be a good year for S.785 to pass. Would you like to send a letter of support? If so, please send to: [email protected].
Operating Budget Work Continues
This week we began deliberations on the FY19 Operating Budget. As you know, the Operating Budget provides specific appropriations for ongoing State programs – like Education, Health and Social Services, Fisheries and Transportation. Discussions on the Operating Budget will continue next week.
After the House passes the budget, it is moved on to the Senate. It is normal for there to be differences between the budgets that both bodies will need to resolve. I look forward to working with our Senate counterparts to ensure District 38 has adequate funding for FY19.
About Our Other Budgets
The Supplemental Budget is for essential services such as Transportation, Public Safety, and Medicaid – to ensure critical services can continue. The Supplemental Budget was passed out of the House last week and is before the Senate for consideration.
The Capital Budget typically includes funding for large infrastructure projects. But in times of a fiscal crisis, this funding becomes harder and harder to come by.
Camai Listening Session
I was excited to host my first in-region event during the annual Camai Festival in Bethel! During this Listening Session I was excited to talk with constituents about issues that matter most to them. I was joined by guests from the Governor’s Administration, including: Senior Advisor to the Governor Barbara Blake, Commissioner of Public Safety Walt Monegan, Assistant Attorney General Alex Cleghorn, and Chief of Staff to the Lt. Governor Claire Richardson.
A big topic of discussion was the need for public safety and how to reduce harm in communities feeling the impacts of alcohol. There were many powerful testimonies of individuals, families, and communities. This was the first of many dialogues on this complex and difficult issue. I look forward to continue bringing stakeholders together so we can work toward community solutions.
As we work together to identify public safety solutions in our region, it is important to build tribal court capacity! In addition to the above Tribal Court Conference, my team is interested in working with UAF Tribal Management Program and AVCP’s Tribal Justice Department to bring a similar training to District 38.
Co-Chair of Community and Regional Affairs; Vice-Chair of Health and Social Services; Member of Education; Member of Joint Armed Forces; Alternate on Judiciary.
To contact Representative Tiffany Zulkosky her address is: Capitol Building Room 416, Juneau, AK, 99801; Phone: (907) 465- 4942; Toll-Free: (800) 323-4942; Email: [email protected].