January 13, 2016.
Session 29, part 2, begins January 19, 2016. A first batch of pre-filed bills was released last Friday and a non-inclusive list of bills was posted this week by Alaska Commons, see their link below.
I have also reviewed the batch of pre-files and say Legislators must focus on the fiscal crisis. You all know, the overspending, under collecting problem we have all talked to death while waiting for the cows to come home this past year? Well folks, January 19, the cows come home and their actions are required.
If the budget can be balanced in under 90 days, then anything else is fair game. But, until that work is done, bills on anything else should be put it off. I’m not saying other work isn’t important. I’m just saying NOT now, NOT first, and NOT EVEN at the same time. Forgive me for repeating this message, but repetition seems necessary somehow.
Check out some of the pre-filed bills/distractions:
- HB 214/SB 119 – Repeal the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Commission
Representative Kurt Olson: not now. It can wait one more year. Set this aside until budget work is done!
- HB 216 – Redefining “Navigable Waters”
Representative Dave Talerico: not now. This is important, potentially controversial, and will require more discussion than time permits this year. Do not spent five minutes on this bill this session. Set it aside until next year if it is not shot down in federal court.
- HB 218 – Prohibiting Marriage Ceremonies in Correctional Facilities
Rep. Bob Lynn; not now! Let the DOC deal with marriage requests until next year. Don’t even spend five minutes on this until budget work is done!
- HB 223 – Repeal of 90-day Limit on Legislative Sessions
Representative Sam Kito III, not now. Don’t spend five minutes on this until budget work is done! Besides, it grows government as opposed to reducing government. I’m not a fan.
- HB 224 – Permanent Fund Changes and Balanced Budget Proposal
Hallelujah! Representative Mike Hawker has filed a bill related to the fiscal crisis. It deserves to be thoroughly vetted and compared side by side with the Governor’s proposal to reconstruct the PFD. Finally, we are getting somewhere. Can session start with this one?
- HB 232 – Banning Alaska Measures of Progress Statewide Assessment
Representative Jim Colver; not now. Ignore the mess left behind from the No Child Left Behind program until next year, if ever. Let the DEED deal with the details. Don’t spend five minutes on this until budget work is done (if ever)!
- HB 233 – Establishing a Climate Change Commission
Representative Andy Josephson, not now. Creating a nine-member Alaska Climate Change Commission grows an already too big government. I’m not a fan. I say not five minutes on this idea; focus on the big problem. In fact, pull this toad out altogether.
- SB 123 – Penalty for Using Electronics While Driving Reduced
Senate President Kevin Meyer, this is not the time. Think bigger, and focus!
If you agree with me and don’t want your Representative(s) doing anything but budget work, let them know. If you notice time wasted on other legislation, don’t be silent. It is time for action without a moment to waste. It is time for progress. Join me for Session Watch 2016 and let’s get busy.
LeadDog Alaska is written and published by Tara Jollie; Retired Deputy Commissioner State Department of Labor; Director, Community and Regional Affairs, and long-time state employee. Tara currently blogs under the nickname LeadDog Alaska.
Session 29, Part 2, Priority 1©January 2016
Alaska Commons.com published: Prefiled bills for Legislature