by Senator Lyman Hoffman
We are on day 67 of a 90-day session. The House has almost finished their work on their version of the FY18 Operating budget and we expect them to move their bill to the Senate next week. The Senate Finance subcommittees have forwarded their recommendations to the full finance committee. The delay in receiving the budget from the House has a domino effect, causing a delay for the Senate Finance Committee to complete their work on the budget. Budget amendments will be taken up in the Senate Finance Committee the week of April 3rd, before sending it to the full Senate for consideration. Any differences between the two bills will go before a Conference Committee.
The Senate Finance Committee also heard SB 31: No State Employee Pay Increase for 2 Years and SB 66: State Council on the Arts: Public Corporation. This was the first hearing on both of these bills. The bills were held in committee.
The Senate Community & Regional Affairs (CRA) committee held its’ first hearing on my bill, SB 18: New Class Borough. Public testimony was accepted. Representatives from the Kuskokwim Corporation flew to Juneau to testify in opposition of this bill. I greatly appreciate hearing their concerns. Legislation is a public process and hearing support and opposition to any bill helps make the bill that much better. I sent out a White Paper on SB 18 that was attached to my newsletter a couple of weeks ago. I you would like further information regarding this bill, please contact my office.
In addition, the Senate CRA committee also heard the following bills; HB 8: Enforcement of Foreign Protective Orders; HB 7: Marked Ballot Photos: Persuasion at Polls and SB 77: Second Class Borough Service Areas. House bills 7 and 8 remained in committee and SB 77 moved out of committee. I have a report on SB 77 below for you to review.
SB 77: Second Class Borough Service Areas
SB 77 expands authority for second-class boroughs to exercise the local option of creating a non-taxable service area to provide emergency response along state highway corridors, not covered by existing emergency services areas. The intent is to deal only with unpopulated highway right-of-way corridors. This legislation would allow for consistent response to roadway accidents, rather than the current practice of “borrowing” emergency services personnel from neighboring areas to fill the gap. In the case of the Kenai Peninsula, subject to borough assembly approval, the municipal government could use a portion of its federal payment-in-lieu-of-taxes (PILT) allocation to cover the costs. Every highway corridor traveler will receive these vital emergency response benefits with no additional cost to the state.
Apply For your 2017 PFD, Deadline: March 31, 2017. http://pfd.alaska.gov/ * If you have filed your PFD application, I recommend that you check your PFD application status to ensure everything is in order. You can do that by visiting the website.
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