by Senator Lyman Hoffman
We have arrived at day 60 in the 31st legislative session. I want to start this week’s newsletter with a huge shout out to Bethel’s own Peter Kaiser for winning his very first Iditarod. Kaiser crossed the finish line in Nome 12 minutes ahead of last year’s winner Joar Leifseth Ulsom of Norway. Kaiser is the first Yup’ik musher to win the Iditarod ever! Congratulation Pete!
Senate Finance met four times this week, moving out of committee several bills. SB 4 Naming the Scott Johnson Bridge, SB 36 Extending the Board of Nurses, and SB 37 Renewal of Vaccine Assessment Program, all made it out of Senate Finance this week.
On Thursday in Senate Finance SB 38 was brought up for conversation. SB 38 is a supplemental appropriation bill to match federal disaster relief funds for the Cook Inlet Earthquake that happened in late January. The bill calls for a 9-1 match in relief funds totaling to $65 million to be expensed by the Department of Transportation and Public Facilities for repairs to critical infrastructure.
Community and Regional Affairs met Thursday to present on the Road Belt Inter Tie (RBIT). The proposal seeks to lay transmission line to connect a series of renewable energy projects and communities in the interior of Alaska. The idea of a Road Belt Inter Tie has been around since the 1980’s. Reasons cited for the project: cost of energy in the region, economic development in mining and timber industries, and supporting federal military operations at Fort Greely and Eielson Air Force Base. The price tag is estimated at $300-400 million, with multiple sources of Federal funding expected to pitch in.
In other news, I had the pleasure to introduce four future Alaskan leaders on the Senate Floor. My granddaughter Elizabeth, and two grandnieces Katrina and Kennedy joined me in the Senate as Guest Pages. Karis, my other granddaughter, kept my wife Lillian company in the Groh Gallery as she was introduced. I’m a very proud and happy grandfather!
Lastly, we have been getting calls from for the district on multiple different topics and bills going through committee. Please don’t hesitate to contact our office on any questions or concerns that may come up. Happy St. Patrick’s Day on Sunday!
SJR 9- Constitutional Amendment: Appropriation Bill for Public Education
Senate Education took up Sen. Costello’s SJR 9 Thursday morning. The Joint Resolution proposes the Governor submit a separate appropriation bill to authorize the proposed expenditures to fund public K-12 education. The legislature shall by the 45th day of each regular session pass and transmit to the governor a bill funding K-12 education for the succeeding fiscal year. This resolution is sponsored by the Senate Majority Leader, and co-sponsored by Sen. Begich, the Minority Leader; showing cross aisle support for the resolution. If passed, the resolution will be put before the voters of the state at the next general election.