The Legislature met today for day one of the Second Session of the 32nd Legislature. I will continue to serve on the House Finance Committee. HFIN will meet Wednesday-Friday this week with reports from DOR, OMB, and Legislative Finance scheduled. You can find the HFIN meeting schedule here.
By popular demand, I will continue to keep you updated on happenings in the Legislature with my email newsletter. I want you to know that I have also created a website to communicate in a more in-depth manner. You can find my website here. You will find the website to be a convenient way to communicate with my office through an integrated chat function that allows you to ask questions in real-time while you are reading or leave a message if we are unavailable. The website will be updated with sponsored legislation, current issues, and events and will include a blog that I will share my thoughts on from time to time. My blog will be interactive with room for public comments.
The only order of business today was to read across the approximately 75 pieces of legislation that were filed prior to the start of the session. This brings the total number of introduced bills and resolutions to approximately 375, from the House alone, for the entire 32nd Legislature.
In between meetings, my staff and I compiled a summary of the bills and resolutions introduced today, and I have included that summary for your review.
Below is the legislation introduced by members of the Republican minority caucus. Several main themes can be observed with this legislation, such as Covid-19 vaccination protections, Constitutional Amendments protecting the PFD and improving the spending limit, and protecting privacy rights.
HJR 20 Amends the state constitution to allow public funds to be paid for the direct educational benefit of all students, including private and religious institutions.
HJR 23 Amends the existing state constitutional spending limit.
HJR 24 Amends the state constitutional spending limit and permanent fund provisions.
HJR 25 Amends the state constitution to allow an employer to grant an employment preference to a person trained in the use of firearms.
HJR 26 Urges the United States Congress to amend the United States Constitution to provide that the Supreme Court of the United States be composed of not more than nine justices.
HB 222 Protects personal privacy during the collection, sale, sharing, deletion, correction, and use of personal information.
HB 223 Repeals statutes and eliminates a series of sub-funds of the general fund, commonly known as designated funds.
HB 224 Amends statute to increase the voter threshold for successful annexation by a municipality.
HB 225 Amends statute to exempt seniors from municipal property tax.
HB 228 Amends statute to prohibit Critical Race Theory and related behavior in public schools.
HB 230 Amends statute to require public and private schools to identify school-sponsored athletic teams as male, female, or coeducational and requires students to participate in the team of their biological sex.
HB 231 Amends the statutes to repeal the percent of market value formula for determining the amount of permanent fund earnings to be considered income available for use for dividends or government spending. Returns the statutes to the traditional formula for determining the amount of the permanent fund earnings available for use, including a return to the requirement for 50% of income be used for dividends.
HB 232 Amends statutes to help combat the theft of catalytic converters.
HB 233 Amends statute to require religious services to be considered essential services during declared disasters if any entity is declared an essential service.
HB 235 Establishes James “Hobo Jim” Varsos Day.
HB 236 Amends statute to make public health officials civilly liable for damages resulting from negligence, recklessness, or intentional misconduct when issuing public health guidance, recommendations, or mandates.
HB 237 Amends statute to protect patients and physicians’ access to prescription drugs for the prevention of Covid-19 and related diseases.
HB 238 Amends statute to require religious, medical, or philosophical exemptions to mandatory vaccination policies in public and private employers.
HB 239 Creates the Israel Anti-Discrimination Act that prohibits public agency contracts from discriminating against the State of Israel.
HB 241 Amends statute to make employers civilly liable for damages incurred by employees or their family members as the result of an adverse reaction to an employer-mandated Covid-19 vaccine.
HB 242 Amends statute to prohibit entities that receive state funds from mandating medical procedures for their employees and makes employers ineligible for state funds if they do.
HB 243 Amends statute regarding property lien modifications.
HB 244 Amends statute to require school boards and municipalities to distribute school district boundary maps to residents.
HB 247 Amends statute to allow power cost equalization funds to be spent on bulk fuel upgrades and renewable energy projects.
HB 248 Amends statute to allow peace officers retired under PERS to be reemployed and continue to receive retirement benefits.
HB 252 Amends statute to require medical facilities to allow patients to have a support person present during treatment and during hospitalization.
HB 258 Amends the current statutory spending limit.
HB 261 Amends statute to add depriving anyone of a civil right by compelling an individual to engage in conduct which they have a legal right to abstain from as committing the crime of coercion and raises the penalty to a class C felony.
HB 262 Amends statute to prohibit state or municipal agencies from using assets to aid in the implementation of federal executive orders, regulations, or laws that infringe on a person’s right to move freely in the State or mandate that a person be vaccinated against Covid-19.
HB 263 Amends statute to prohibit state, municipal agents, or federal agents from enforcing laws that violate the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States by imposing sanctions on individuals who do not receive a Covid-19 vaccination or on individuals who do not require others to receive a Covid-19 vaccination. It also authorizes the state attorney general to defend a resident of the State who is prosecuted by the federal government for a violation of federal law or regulation requiring acceptance of Covid-19 vaccination.
HB 266 The Vaccine Consumer Protection Act of 2022.
HB 274 Amends statute to include the administration of a Covid-19 vaccination over the objection of the person being vaccinated as a crime of interference with constitutional rights and allows objections to Covid-19 vaccination based upon religious, medical, or other grounds.
HB 275 Amends statute to prohibit administration of vaccines to children if the vaccine has not yet received formal approval by the USFDA or been subject to a complete long-term follow-up study.
HB 277 Amends statute to require occupational license renewal applications to be submitted at least 60 days before the date of expiration and implements an additional $250 fee for applications submitted less than 60 days in advance.
HB 278 Amends statute to require a serology test approved by the USFDA that shows measurable antibodies to Covid-19 as equivalent to proof of vaccination.
HB 279 Amends statute to allow for organizations to pay for and submit requests for installation of signs along veteran’s memorial roads that recognize individual veterans.
HB 280 Amends statute to exclude students who are children of school employees from average daily membership counts.
New legislation proposed by the House majority caucus. Major themes include creating a pre-K education program and funding increases to education, constraints to police powers, amending political contributions, replacing the traditional PFD formula with various proposals.
HJR 21 Amends the state constitution to require an annual PFD payment according to law.
HJR 22 Amends the state constitution to repeal the general fund sweep provision and instead directs 50% of funds remaining in the general fund at the end of the fiscal year to be paid to eligible Alaskans in the form of a dividend and 50% paid to the budget reserve fund.
HB 218 Requires technicians and contractors to obtain a certification recognized by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) under the ISO/IEC 17024 standard to perform inspections and testing of fire dampers, smoke dampers, and smoke control systems.
HB 226 Compensation for certain employees not covered by collective bargaining agreements and a pay increase to certain attorneys employed by the State.
HB 227 Municipal energy and resilience improvement assessment programs.
HB 229 Relating to the Alaska Higher Education investment fund, creating an Alaska Student Loan Corporation.
HB 234 Amending statute to set political contribution amounts.
HB 240 Amends statute to create a state-wide Pre-K education program and a Parents as Teachers program for children under age 5.
HB 245 Amends statute to set political contribution amounts.
HB 246 Amends statute regarding low-level marijuana possession crimes.
HB 249 Amends statute to eliminate the traditional PFD formula and establish a percentage-based formula for determining the annual PFD payment. Replaces the word “transfer” with the word “appropriate” throughout the statute.
History may record this action as the completion of one of the greatest miscarriages of justice and usurpation of authority by the judicial branch in the Wielechowski vs. Alaska case. The court determined in 2017 that the annual PFD payment isn’t a transfer but an appropriation paving the way for the Legislature to not pay a statutorily required dividend payment in subsequent years. In 2022, HB 249 seeks to replace the words “transfer” in the same statute the courts referenced in 2017 when it determined the PFD payment wasn’t a transfer. These words meant transfer for decades prior to the 2017 court ruling that redefined transfer to mean appropriate. The court lacked the power in 2017 to strike the actual words “transfer” from the statute. For that to occur, the Legislature must be complicit with the court in redefining a transfer as an appropriation.
HB 250 Appropriations from the General Fund to pay for Assistance programs, Money sent to DEED for State Aid Costs for School Construction estimated amount $48M, $31m from GF for Community assistance fund, $60m for Oil and Gas tax credit fund.
HB 251 Amends statute to change the PF Board from four to six public members: two appointed by the Governor, two by the speaker of the House, two by the Senate President, one by the House Minority, one by the Senate Minority, one member by the commissioner of Revenue. Board members are to be removed by the committee.
HB 253 Statute changes to reporting misconduct of peace officers, changing procedures used by peace officers, and the AK police Standards Council.
HB 254 Statute changes to police standards regarding non-lethal methods of engagement before a situation escalates.
HB 255 Statute changes requiring DPS to publish current policies and procedures related to the conduct of peace officers employed or regulated by the department.
HB 256 Statute changes requiring AK Police Standard Council to have DPS give a yearly Use-of-force report to the Legislature and other stricter regulation for the AKPSC.
HB 257 Making Juneteenth as a legal Holiday.
HB 259 Amends statute to remove traditional PFD formula and split PF earning 25% for PFD, 75% for government use.
HB 260 Amends statute to remove traditional PFD formula and split the PF earning 50/50 with caveats.
HB 265 Amends statute to Add a subsection on Telehealth.
HB 267 Amends statute to allow for a process to cure a rejected absentee ballot.
HB 268 Amends statute to change a driver’s license renewal process after expiration for Military/military family members.
HB 269 Amends statute to prohibit peace officers from using a chokehold and changes the justification for use of force.
HB 270 Amends statute regarding the justification of the use of force relating to shooting at a moving vehicle.
HB 271 Amends statute to require Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority members appointed by the Governor must be confirmed by the Legislature. Makes some changes to regulations for the board.
HB 272 Amends statute to increase Base Student Allocations by $223.
HB 273 Amends statute to increase Base Student Allocations annually based on a three-year average of CPI.
New legislation by request of the Governor.
EO 121 Reorganizing DHSS into the DH and DFCS
EO 122 transferring management duties of state facilities from DOA to DOTPF
EO 123 renames the Division of Forestry to the Division of Forestry and Fire Protection.
HB 281 Operating appropriations by request of the Governor.
HB 282 Mental health appropriations by request of the Governor.
HB 283 Capital appropriations by request of the Governor.
HB 284 Supplemental appropriations by request of the Governor.
HB 285 General obligation bond authorization by request of the Governor.
HB 286 Amends statutes relating to election integrity by the request of the Governor.