by Rep. Tiffany Zulkosky
May 15, 2021
Dear friends + neighbors,
The regular session of the 32nd Legislature will be moving toward adjournment on May 19, but a special session will immediately convene on May 20 to continue work on the FY22 budgets. The Governor has also called a second special session to convene in August to appropriate federal COVID-relief funds.
I’m grateful for the opportunity to offer you an update on our work here in the Capital City.
Have a wonderful weekend.
HB 184: Alaska Tribal Child Welfare Compact
On Thursday, May 13, I was proud to carry HB 184 on the House Floor. I sponsored this piece of legislation to protect and strengthen the ongoing Alaska Tribal Child Welfare Compact by codifying it in statute. The bill passed the House with broad bipartisan support on a vote of 35-4.
The Compact supports the Office of Children’s Services mission that children and families are served as close to home as possible through negotiated scopes of work. Tribes and Tribal organizations are able to leverage wrap-around preventative services while incorporating cultural values and traditions into services, ensuring a stronger and more relevant child welfare system in Alaska.
Alaska’s Compact is the first of its kind and has gained national recognition as a model for other states. Continued collaboration is a key opportunity to improve child welfare outcomes and address significant disparities experienced by Alaska Native children across Alaska.
Quyana to all of my colleagues who recognize the value of leveraging Tribal partnerships to support children and families across the state. The bill moves on to the Senate for consideration.
HB 69: FY 22 Operating Budget
On Monday, May 10, the FY22 Operating Budget passed the House, after a transparent process with input from Democrats, Republicans and Independents from across the state. While I do not believe the budget is perfect and there remains a need for additional funding for rural Alaska, it protects the essential state services our families and communities rely on.
Working with my colleagues, I helped to secure $3.4 million in additional funding for the implementation of the Alaska Tribal Child Welfare Compact, a grant to fund the Kuskokwim Ice Road, and additional funding to ensure that rural Alaskans have access to REAL ID services.
In addition, the budget passed out of the House provides for the following:
•Power Cost Equalization, alcohol safety and chronic disease prevention programs, substance abuse grants, and domestic violence and sexual assault prevention programs.
•Domestic violence relief, treatment programs, and shelter centers, which lost funding due to federal funding cuts, would be fully funded.
•One-time federal COVID-19 emergency funds available through the American Rescue Plan Act will be directed to community relief ($124.5 million) to help avoid local tax hikes, tourism relief to help summer businesses stay afloat ($30 million), to help offset lost small business revenue ($30 million), and to help offset lost nonprofit revenue ($30 million).
•Pre-K programs received $5 million in funding, and K-12 schools are funded ahead of time through House Bill 169, a bill that passed earlier this year to prevent the distribution of pink slips and to provide certainty for students, parents, and teachers that schools will receive adequate funding.
•Seven additional public defender positions are financed to bolster Alaska’s public safety division and keep cases moving through the court system in a timely fashion.
HB 198: Community Health Aide Appreciation Day
I introduced HB 198, establishing September 10 as Alaska Community Health Aide Appreciation Day. It was heard today in the House State Affairs Committee, and was passed out for consideration on the floor.
Health Aides are the backbone of our rural healthcare system. They function as part of a regional team to assess and provide emergent, acute, and chronic medical care in remote Alaska communities. With highly focused training, health aides deliver quality care in remote environments, with limited resources.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, health aides have worked tirelessly and at great personal risk to keep their communities as safe and healthy as possible. They have been key to ensuring the success of vaccine distribution across Alaska. Recognition for these amazing healthcare service providers is long overdue, and I hope to see this bill passed.
YKHC Vaccine Sign-up
The Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation (YKHC) is offering COVID-19 vaccination throughout the YK Delta. Sign up to reserve your appointment for a free vaccine now!
Please note, completing this form will not automatically schedule you for an appointment, but you will be scheduled as vaccine doses become available. Submitting the form will add you to the list for when vaccination teams visit your village, and you should receive a call within 3 days to schedule an appointment. If possible, a date will be provided to you at this time. If you don’t have access to the internet or would like help signing up, you can call 1-800-478-6599.
Please do your part to protect yourself and your community from the spread of COVID-19 — sign up for your vaccine today!
Request a Citation
I would love to hear from you if you have a suggestion for a legislative citation of importance to District 38!
What is a citation? It is an official document expressing commendation, condolences, appreciation or congratulations to an individual or group.
There are two types of citations:
“Honorarium” recognizes a person, organization, or special occasion.
“In Memorium” honors someone who has recently passed away.
Please feel free to call or e-mail my office if you have any questions.
Office of Representative Tiffany Zulkosky
Alaska House District 38, 907-465-4942, [email protected], Alaska State Capitol, Room 416, Juneau, Alaska 99801