News From the Hill: April 1st, 2014

It’s hard to believe that there are only 19 days of session left as there is much to accomplish before we all head back home to our respective Districts. But, as we go through the last couple of weeks, the pace of bill movement will pick up and we will continue to address major session issues like the gasline bill, the omnibus crime bill, the capital budget, and tackling the unfunded liability of PERS/TRS.

HB278

As I have mentioned in previous newsletters, the Governor’s omnibus education bill (HB278) aims to change many aspects of the education system such as increasing school choice and increasing the Base Student Allocation (BSA). After months of discussion and presentations provided by various entities related to all aspects of the education system, today the House Finance Committee adopted its committee substitute (CS) for the bill. The House Finance Committee’s plan dedicates approximately 28% of the state’s savings accounts to education over the ten years spanning FY15 – FY24.

If you would like to see a summary of the changes that we made, simply click here. Or, for your convenience, we have provided a list of the key elements that the CS incorporates:

·         Funding Increases

Adds $100 to the Governor’s proposed three-year BSA increase in the first year, and forward funds the increase. The new total represents $185 for Fiscal Year 2015, and $58 for FY16-17. The table found here shows the amounts that each school district will recieve from the foundation formula changes made by the House Finance Committees version of HB278.

 

BSA today:          $5,680

FY15:                     $5,680 + $185 = $5,865 (2014 – 15 school year)

FY16:                     $5,680 + $243 = $5,923 (2015 – 16 school year)

FY17:                     $5,680 + $301 = $5,981 (2016 – 17 school year)

·         Formula Fairness

Increases the fairness of the education funding formula by counting students in a more equitable manner, where schools with larger student populations are currently counting each student as less than one for funding purposes. The Finance CS eliminates inequity by removing the top two tiers, allowing urban districts to receive increased funding per pupil under the formula.

  • Retirement

In the bill, the House Finance Committee included a plan for the Teachers’ Retirement System to make it more predictable, stable and affordable.  The plan would deposit $1.4 billion into the Teachers’ Retirement System Trust Fund and $100 million into a new Teachers’ Retirement System Reserve Fund.  Annual payments starting at nearly $157 million would become part of the education formula and the state will fund the annual payment. By comparison, the Governor’s plan would have deposited $1.1 billion into the Trust Fund and required an annual payment of $343 million.

·         Reforms and Accountability

The Committee Substitute includes an adjustment to how charter schools are funded, offering municipalities the option to give a property tax exemption to property owners who lease or rent space, or a portion of their space, to charter schools, and making charter schools equal in terms of formula funding. The bill also changes the charter schools formula to explicitly state that districts cannot take a portion of a charter student’s formula funding for administrative costs; Increased accountability will result from language directing the Alaska Board of Education to track how districts spend BSA funds and suggest efficiencies, the first time the Board has been tasked to do so in statute; making districts provide charter schools with a report listing all of the indirect costs and services performed by the district; changing teacher tenure to five years across the board to retain the best qualified teachers for our students; and, asking the Alaska Dept. of Administration to provide an analysis of bringing education employees under the state salary and benefits system.

Education Funding

I would like to share this very informative presentation on education funding that was presented by David Teal, Director of Legislative Finance on Monday, March 24th to the House Finance Committee. The Legislative Finance Division is the department that assists the Legislature with its budgetary responsibilities and David does a great job explaining the difference between education funding and the BSA.
To watch the presentation, click on the link below. http://www.360north.org/gavel-archives/?event_id=2147483647_2014031329

Upcoming Events

The University of Alaska Board of Regents will be meeting in Kodiak this week on April 3rd & 4th. All meetings are open to the public with the exception of Executive Sessions. There will be several opportunities to interact with Board Members during thier visit including public testimony each day from 9:30-10:30AM. There will aslo be a seafood reception on Thursday, April 3rd from 5:30-8:00PM at the Kodiak Seafood Fisheries & Marine Science Facility.

To view the Board’s agenda, click on the link found below. https://docs.google.com/a/alaska.edu/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AnktA525kl0ddDZEa0R0TEFOcUtMXzVtZk5ZY0ZhY2c&usp=drive_web#gid=0

Stay Involved
Lastly, I would like to remind you to use your local Legislative Information Office (LIO) as a means to stay involved in the legislative process. Their mission is to facilitate communication between Legislators and constituents and they do a wonderful job of providing information on anything related to the legislature. If you wish to simply listen to a committee hearing, provide public testimony, or have questions about a bill, stop by your local LIO and the Information Officers will be happy to assist you. Below you will find contact information for the two LIOs in our district:

Kodiak LIO
Lorna & Heather
305 Center Street, Ste. 1
Kodiak, AK 99615
Ph: 907-486-8116
e: Kodiak.LIO@akleg.gov
Cordova LIO
Michelle & Mimi
418 First Street, Ste. A
Cordova, AK 99574
Ph: 907-424-5461
e: Cordova.LIO@akleg.gov

DOT&PF Central Region Seasonal Weight Restrictions

PUBLIC NOTICE
DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION AND PUBLIC FACILITIES
CENTRAL REGION
SEASONAL WEIGHT RESTRICTIONS
Issue Date:  April 17, 2014

Seasonal weight restrictions apply to all vehicles over 10,000# GVW.   Weight restrictions are now in effect within the Central Region at the locations specified below. Weight restrictions are stated as a percentage of legal allowable weight and shall be applied to the maximum axle loading of 17 AAC 25.013(e).

The Central Region boundaries extend from Homer on the Sterling Highway and Seward on the Seward Highway to Mile 118 on the Glenn Highway and Mile 163 on the Parks Highway. The following road systems are also included within the Central Region: Kodiak, King Salmon/Naknek, Dillingham, and Bethel areas.

Changes and additions to the weight restrictions are usually in bold type, but weight restriction changes are in effect whether in bold or regular text.

LOCATION:
Effective Monday, April 21, 2014 at 8:00 A.M:
The following State maintained roads are restricted to the following:

AREA WIDE WEIGHT RESTRICTIONS
All State maintained gravel roads within the Kodiak Island area – 75%
All State maintained paved roads within the Kodiak Island area – 75%
All State maintained roads in the Iliamna area – 50%
All State maintained roads in the Dillingham area – 75%
All State maintained roads in the King Salmon area – 75%
All State maintained gravel roads in the Kenai Peninsula area (south of Portage Glacier Highway) – 50%
All State maintained paved roads in the Kenai Peninsula area (south of Portage Glacier Highway) – 75%
All State maintained gravel roads in the Anchorage, Eagle River, and Girdwood areas (South of the Eklutna Interchange and north of Portage Glacier Hwy) – 50%

All State maintained paved roads in the Anchorage, Eagle River, and Girdwood areas (South of the Eklutna Interchange and north of Portage Glacier Hwy) – 75%

All State maintained gravel roads in the Matanuska-Susitna area (south of Parks Hwy MP 163 / south of Glenn Hwy MP 118 and north of the Eklutna Interchange) – 50%

All State maintained paved roads in the Matanuska-Susitna area (south of Parks Hwy MP 163 / south of Glenn Hwy MP 118 and north of the Eklutna Interchange) – 75%

INDIVIDUAL ROAD WEIGHT RESTRICTIONS – Individual roads that vary from the Area Wide Weight Restrictions.

The following roads will be restricted to 100% of legal axle load, no overloads:

5th & 6th Ave
A & C Streets
I & L Streets
Birchwood Loop – MP 6.2 to MP 6.62 (Glenn Hwy to Old Glenn Hwy)
Dimond Blvd
Glenn Highway – MP 0 to MP 54 (5th Ave to Moose Creek)
Gambell Street
Ingra Street
International Airport Rd
Kenai Spur (MP 0 to MP 30)
Minnesota Drive
Muldoon Road
Northern Lights Blvd (West of Postmark Dr.)
O’Malley Road (Old Seward to New Seward)
Ocean Dock Road
Old Glenn Hwy – MP 0 to MP 8.1(Artillery Rd to Ski Rd)
Parks Hwy – MP 37 to MP 44 (Interchange to Church Rd)
Post Road
Postmark Drive
Reeve Blvd
Seward Hwy – MP 114 to MP 125 (Potter to Ingra St.)
South Aircraft Drive
Tudor Road

The following roads are restricted to 85% of legal axle load; with 100% legal axle loads allowed on the drive axles of approved Long Combination Vehicles (LCV) of 90’ or more with at least 2 trailers on the following roads (no overloads), unless otherwise indicated:

Bridge Access Road
Glenn Hwy – MP 55 to 118 (Moose Creek to Region Boundary)
Kalifornsky Beach Road
Parks Hwy – MP 44 to MP 163 (Church Rd to Region Boundary)
Seward Hwy – MP 0 to MP 114 (Seward to Potter Weigh Station)
Sterling Hwy
Swanson River Road (No LCV allowed)

The following roads will be restricted to 50% of legal axle load:

Buffalo Mine Road
Vine Road

Alaska DOT&PF to Host Tustumena Replacement Vessel Public Meeting

The Alaska Department of Transportation & Public Facilities (DOT&PF) will present the Tustumena Replacement Vessel Reconnaissance Report to the communities of Kodiak Island, Southcentral and Southwest Alaska May 19-22, 2014. The report, available online at dot.alaska.gov/amhs/tusty_replace, will be presented at three regional locations with teleconference availability for neighboring communities at the following dates, times and locations:

Unalaska: May 19, 5 – 7 p.m.
Teleconference:  Chignik, Sand Point, False Pass, Akutan, King Cove, Cold Bay
Location: Unalaska City Hall Council Chambers, 43 Raven Way, Unalaska, Alaska

Kodiak: May 21, 5 – 7 p.m.
Teleconference: Port Lions, Ouzinkie, Old Harbor
Location: Kodiak Public Library Multipurpose Room, 612 Egan Way, Kodiak, Alaska

Homer: May 22, 5 – 7 p.m.
Teleconference: Seldovia
Location: Pioneer Hall, Kachemak Bay Campus, 533 E. Pioneer Avenue, Homer, Alaska

To participate by teleconference, dial 1-800-315-6338, conference code 3905#.

An open house for meeting attendees will be held from 5-5:30 p.m. The teleconference and presentation will begin at 5:30 p.m. Participants are encouraged to review the report prior to the meeting. Time for questions will be provided immediately following the presentation.

In addition to the public meetings, Alaska DOT&PF will accept public comments regarding the Tustumena Replacement Vessel Reconnaissance Report through May 30, 2014. A copy of the report is available online at dot.alaska.gov/amhs/tusty_replace. Comments may be submitted via email to dot.amhs.tustumenareplacement@alaska.gov.

 

Alaska Arctic Policy Commission Public Outreach

The Alaska Arctic Policy Commission, in releasing its Preliminary Report, seeks public input into the work that’s been done and still left to do. The Commission believes that while Arctic policy is important to all of Alaska and the entire United States, the immediate stakeholders are Arctic residents. Alaskans are strongly encouraged to engage in this process by participating in the public comment period on the Preliminary Report, which will inform subsequent version of the final report that is due to the Alaska Legislature on January 30, 2015.

Visit www.akarctic.com to find the latest information about our three in-person meetings and any other outreach events for the year, as well as to download the executive summary and full Preliminary Report. The Public Comment Period is open from February 1 to May 15, 2014. Please submit written comments to aapcgovernance@gmail.com with the email subject: AAPC P.R. comments – [individual or organization name] Submission instructions: Submit comments in the following format with reference to the line numbers in the Preliminary Report. For Example, Line 5 – typo [include some justification for the change], “Alaskans recognize[s] the need…” – [bracket] words to be deleted and italics words that are to be added.

The AAPC cannot respond to individual comments that we receive, but very much appreciate the public’s comments and will consider input when appropriate. The Commission’s next steps are informed by your feedback. Thank you, in advance, for your contributions.