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Hello East Anchorage!


Here's what we've been up to, and what's coming up next: Our office got a bill out of the House unanimously, the House passed the State budget, and we are coming up on day 120 of session. Although Day 120, May 19th, is constitutionally the last day of session, the Governor called us into a special session beginning on May 20th.

As always, my district is my priority. We will be coming back for in-person events as soon as we can, and one of my staff will be in the Anchorage office permanently during interim---stay tuned for updates. 

My bill, HB 168, passed unanimously in the House!

HB 168 creates a deadline for when the state must have online benefit applications available. This bill will streamline the process and reduce the administrative burden on the Division of Public Assistance.
The Department of Health and Social Services collaborated with our office in the drafting of this bill and I want to recognize the work they're doing to make benefit applications more accessible. 

HB 168 has been transmitted to the Senate and will be heard in the Senate Health and Social Services and Finance Committees.
As you might know, the FDA approved the Pfizer vaccine for kids 12-15. If you'd like more info, you can check out this information session with Dr. Zink and the UAA Center for Human Development.

With kids 12 and up vaccinated, summer can be safer and more fun for all family members. Make a vaccine appointment here.  
Looking for a job near the district? There are 150+ available on JBer.
The Muldoon Farmers Market is set to start on Saturdays in late June! Located in Chanshtnu Muldoon Park, the market provides a space for Alaska Grown, caught, baked, and created goods. 
If you would like to participate as a vendor, booths are $20, and informational booths for local nonprofits or service organizations are free.

For more info, email muldoonfarmersmarket@gmail.com.
Kristi Wood, a project coordinator for the Chanshtnu Muldoon Park Community Food Forest and Community Garden, is a lifelong Eastsider that deserves recognition for her contributions to the Anchorage community. 
With Kristi’s expertise and donations of time, plants, and tools, a vision for community food production in East Anchorage is becoming a reality. When completed, the food forest will be an orchard with dozens of apple, plum, and cherry trees along with hundreds of fruit-bearing shrubs and perennial vegetables in the understory. It already provides an opportunity for local students to serve their community while learning about growing and processing their own food. Thank you, Kristi!
The Budget

 

The House passed its version of the state budget this past Monday after negotiations between both caucuses. 

During debate on the floor, I introduced an amendment that reinstated 50 positions in the Division of Public Assistance that were going to be cut in the Governor's proposal. These were premature cuts based on technological efficiencies that haven't been implemented yet. My amendment ensures the Division has the staff it needs to continue providing its services until then.

I also voted for an amendment that proposed a statutory PFD. While I fully support a sustainable PFD in the future, this is the one year that is an exception. This has been an unprecedented year and sometimes that calls for unprecedented responsibilities. However, a full PFD this fiscal year means that now, more than ever, we need to seriously look at a responsible, sustainable PFD formula moving forward. Though the amendment ultimately failed, I still supported this budget.

The budget preserves the Power Cost Equalization Fund, which helps with the high costs of energy in rural Alaska, funds pre-k, pays for previously issued bonds to build schools, and has funding to protect state sovereignty. The House's version of the budget is essentially flat as compared to last year, and many of us worked to ensure as many critical government functions were preserved as possible. 

The Senate will pass out its version of the budget. Once that is done, the House and Senate will finalize negotiations during a conference committee.

Other Activities of Note
In House Labor and Commerce, we voted out Senate Bill 21, License Mobile Intensive Care Paramedics. SB 21 promotes public safety by moving oversight and licensure processes for emergency medical services under the Department of Health and Social Services.
In House Health and Social Services, I voted to pass out Senate Bill 89, Assisted Living Homes: House Rules. SB 89 will bring Alaska's statutes into compliance with federal regulations and strengthening residents' rights.
I co-sponsored House Bill 184, which was passed out of the House yesterday. HB 184 requires the state to formally sign on to the Tribal Child Welfare Compact. Passage of this bill not only shows the State's commitment to the wellbeing of children, but also reduces costs by using federal funds available for tribes.




























 
Special Session(s)
The Governor issued a proclamation calling the Legislature into two special sessions. Special sessions are 30 days long and used to work on specific items. The first one begins on May 20th and will focus on the state budget, the PFD, and the Governor's SJR 6: CONST. AM: PERM FUND & PFDS.

The second special session begins on August 2nd and will focus on the Governor's SJR 5: CONST. AM: APPROP LIMIT; BUDGET RESERVE, SJR 7: CONST. AM: STATE TAX; VOTER APPROVAL, how to spend federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds, and revenue measures. 

I'm optimistic that investing this extra time to finalize the budget and address our fiscal gap will bring us closer to a sustainable and responsible solution. Recognizing the economic impacts of the pandemic, I remain committed to supporting a full PFD this year, while also developing a new sustainable fiscal plan as we move forward and out of the pandemic-- this is what I ran on and it is what I will do.

These upcoming special sessions are meant to continue the conversation around solving our fiscal crisis. Our office will make sure to keep you updated as the special sessions progress and we learn more. 
 
Honored as always to serve you, 


 
Representative Liz Snyder
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Contact our office:
(907) 465-3438
rep.liz.snyder@akleg.gov
alliana.salanguit@akleg.gov | arielle.wiggin@akleg.gov

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