Hello from Kodiak. It is good to be home after a busy June that included a special session regarding the Alaska Coastal Zone Management Program (ACMP). As you know, the Legislature convened in Juneau on Monday, June 27, to consider legislation extending the program for another six years, as well as creating an Alaska Coastal Policy Board. The bill, SB 45, was derived from a carefully crafted compromise reached in late June between Senate and House leaders to save the coastal resource development from lapsing into federal control. Although the Senate passed the bill during the first day of the special session, regrettably, the bill failed to pass the House the next day.
With the ACMP legislation failing to advance, the program sunset on June 30 and Alaska has lost the power to affect resource development in its coastal areas. I believe this topic will continue to generate much discussion and will be revisited in the 2012 session. Hopefully, legislators will see the wisdom of reviving the ACMP and giving Alaska back its voice in these critical decisions.
Capital budget enacted
On June 29, the governor enacted the FY 2012 Operating and Capital Budgets. Overall, Senate District R fared well in the budget process, however four Senate District R projects were completely vetoed, including $10 million for a Homer area natural gas pipeline, $3.8 million for the Bear Creek Fire Service Area’s multi-use facility, $1.5 million for Old Harbor airport improvements and $12,000 for the Humane Society of Kodiak’s concrete surface project. A $4 million appropriation for the Seward Power Plant Integration Project was cut to $2 million.
It is difficult to see funding cut for projects that are so important to local communities. I will continue to work with Rep. Seaton, R-Homer, and Rep. Austerman, R-Kodiak, as well as local leaders in hopes of obtaining funding for these projects during the 2012 session.
Copies of the FY 2012 Veto Summary are available on the Internet at www.gov.state.ak.us/omb/.
On June 8 the Alaska Redistricting Board announced its draft Senate and House districts that will go into effect starting with the 2012 elections. With population growth in the urban areas and Mat-Su Valley and declining populations in rural Alaska, several changes have occurred in the state’s political subdivisions. Baring changes from court challenges, Senate District R will gain several communities in Prince William Sound, the Lake and Peninsula Borough and Bristol Bay, while losing communities in the Seward and Homer areas.
On a personal note, I would like to thank Kodiak’s Bob Brodie for his service on the redistricting board. The countless hours and personal sacrifices Bob made on behalf of the state are greatly appreciated.
You can get more information on the Alaska Redistricting Board and its draft plan online at: http://akredistricting.org/.
Local resident tapped for state panel
Congratulations to Kodiak’s JoAnn Homes, who was recently appointed to the Alaska State Commission for Human Rights. A former tribal court administrator and a village administrator with the Woody Island and Ivanof Bay Tribal Councils, Ms. Holmes brings a great deal of knowledge and experience to the commission for human rights.
Ms. Holmes is one of several Senate District R residents currently serving on various state boards and commissions. You can find out more about vacancies for these committees on the Internet at http://gov.state.ak.us/boards, or contact the governor’s office at (907) 465-3500.
Postsecondary education commission seeks help from middle school kids
The Alaska Commission on Postsecondary Education is looking for students going into the 6th, 7th and 8th grades this coming school year to be part of the Alaska middle school newspaper What’s Your Story?
The paper includes photos and career dreams of middle school students from all around Alaska. Students need only fill out a quick form, http://akadvantage.alaska.gov/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=t8elTQox8Yc%3d&tabid=154&mid=572, identifying their career goals and basic contact and school information, get their parents’ approval signature and submit a non-professional photo of themselves.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 877-577-3367, or visit Alaskadvantage on Facebook, http://www.facebook.com/notes/alaskadvantage-programs/whats-your-story-is-looking-for-6th-7th-and-8th-graders/10150205958510918?ref=nf, to find out more about the newspaper.
Here to help you with state issues
My staff is available to assist you with issues involving state government throughout the year. Please don’t hesitate to give us a call.
The phone number for my Kodiak office is 486-4925. The fax number is 486-5264. My Homer office can be reached at 235-0690. The fax number is 235-4008.
My Capitol building office can be reached toll free at 1-800-821-4925. The fax number is 465-3517.
Email any time at: email@example.com.
Thank you for reading this edition of the Interim Report. If you would like to receive this news column via email, please contact my Kodiak office or email me.