Senate District S Legislative Update

Alaska State Senator Lyman Hoffman, 2019 Axel C. Johnson Distinguished Shareholder of the Year, from Bethel

by Senator Lyman F. Hoffman

Good morning –

Day eighty-one and it is snowing in Juneau! This week, the Senate Finance Committee heard the following bills, SB 20: Out of State Teacher Reciprocity, SB 64: Shellfish Projects/Hatcheries Fees, SB 71: Council on Arts/Plates & Manage Art, SB 89: Assisted Living Homes/House Rules, SB 95: Search & Rescue/Surplus State Property, SB 98: Adult Foster Care for Disabled and SB 10: Free/Reduced Tuition for Essential Workers.

The Senate Community & Regional Affairs Committee held one meeting this week and heard two bills, SB 72: Secondary School Civics Education (see report below) and SB 17: Energy Efficiency & Policy for Public buildings. SB 17 moves forward to the Senate Labor & Commerce Committee.

The full Senate met today and considered SB 40: Veteran’s Benefits Services, Disclosure. This bill creates awareness of the benefit and services the veteran or a veteran’s dependents, survivors, or personal representative have at their disposal. The bill will move into third reading for Monday’s floor calendar.

SB 72 – Civics Education in Alaska Schools

On July, 1971, President Richard Nixon signed 26th Amendment. Section 1, “The right of citizens of the United States, who are 18 years of age or older, to vote, shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any state on account of age.”

SB 72 adds civics education to the list of graduation requirements and requires a civics assessment be taken for a student to receive a diploma. Completion of the assessment shall be noted on the student’s official transcript. This bill ensures students have a basic understanding of the fundamentals of how our government works and the values of basic Democracy.

SB 72 is currently in Community & Regional Affairs, its next committee of referral is Senate Finance.

Dept. of Natural Resources – Specialty Crop Block Mini Grant

Alaska Graduate Students can apply for block grants of up to $10,000 to support Alaskan grown specialty crops this year through the Department of Natural Resources. The scope of these min-grants includes but is not exclusive to pest identification and mitigation, regional food systems, crop efficiencies, variety trials, feasibility studies. U.S. Department of Agriculture defines specialty crops as fruits and vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits and horticulture, kelp, seaweed, and nursery crops.

Application deadline is May 10th. Project completion by September 15, and project reports will be due October 30, 2021. Applications and instructions are posted on the “Grants” page of the division website.

Conference of Young Alaskans

Alaska Municipal League is hosting the Conference of young Alaskans in Fairbanks August 1-4 to address critical issues facing local Governments across the State. Participants will weigh questions on enhancing local control with unorganized borough, evaluate tax bases to make sure that revenues are in place to provide services, evaluating what roles local governments have in sustainability and quality of life, and explore the relationship between the State and its political subdivisions.

Applications are due May 10, 2021 by 11:59pm and will be collected via mail, fax or email. Mail: COYA, c/o Alaska Municipal League, 1 Sealaska Plaza, Suite 200, Juneau AK 99801, Fax: 907-463-5480 or Email: [email protected]