February 22, 2013
Track Bill and
or 360 North
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LEGISLATIVE INFORMATION OFFICES
270 West Pioneer Ave.
Homer, AK 99603
145 Main Street Loop,
Kenai, AK 99611
Fax: (907) 283-3075
Congressman Don Young
Senator Lisa Murkowski
Senator Mark Begich
Office of the Governor
VIEWS FROM THE DISTRICT
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Each issue we will post a few photos of the scenery, wildlife and community events that highlight the beauty of our district throughout the year!
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Labor & Commerce
Volume 1 : Issue 4
Continued Protections for Kachemak Bay and Alaskan Waters • Senate Resources Begins Work on SB 21 Oil Tax Bill •
Lower Kenai State Parks Improvements • Other Committee Activities
Mrs. Gomez’s Second Grade Class of Redoubt Elementary School shared with me their lighthouse paintings to help decorate my office here in Juneau.
Dear Friends and Neighbors
We’ve passed the 30-day mark, meaning that one-third of the legislative session is already behind us. We began with a heavy pace this year and I’m proud to say that the session is ahead of schedule for the first year in many. Our office and my family celebrated Valentine’s Day with a fun dinner with visiting Kenai Peninsula Borough assembly members. Visit my Facebook page (link) to see us gathered together in our rented Juneau house.
Many of you have emailed me with your thoughts and concerns on a variety of issues before the legislature. My staff and I are busy looking for answers to your questions, researching the suggestions you offer, and mentally processing your opinions. I appreciate your patience as we intend to respond to each and every one of you. I cannot understate the value of your input. I’ve asked that you remain engaged and you have. Please continue to call, write and participate. Your opinions absolutely guide my decision making process.
Thank you again for reading my newsletter. I encourage you to share it with others who you think may be interested in staying up to date on these matters affecting all of us.
Always honored to be serving District O,
Senator Peter Micciche
Senate District O, Lower Kenai Peninsula
American Cancer Society advocates, Becky Stoppa, Heather Arnno, and from Soldotna, Johna Beech came to visit.
Continued Protections for Kachemak Bay and Alaskan Waters
As I’ve reported before, I am committed to maintaining protection for the Kachemak Bay Critical Habitat Area and ensuring clean waters throughout the state. On Tuesday, the Senate voted on passage of HB 80 pertaining to Cruise Ship Wastewater Discharge. I supported two amendments from “across the aisle” on the bill that would have extended the dates to comply and protected key marine areas. My one condition in supporting this bill was the commitments I received from the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, the administration and industry officials that the permitting system would be used to ensure there will be no discharges of cruise wastewater in Kachemak Bay. Watch my statement on the Senate Floor here or read my statement here.
The bottom line is that the provisions of the bill require the ships to practice wastewater treatment procedures many times cleaner than nearly every local municipal system in the state, and much safer than if the ships discharged in adjacent federal waters under significantly lower standards. My primary goal after this session is to gather scientists and local stakeholders to prioritize improving municipal wastewater treatment by creating a long-term plan for system upgrades…a much greater improvement to marine water quality than what could have occurred if the HB 80 would have failed. Please let my office know if you’d like to participate.
Kenai Peninsula Community College students, Nancy Henning and Shawna Thornton, visited the capital city as part of the Coalition of Student Leaders.
Senate Resources Begins Work on SB 21 Oil Tax Bill
It may seem like deja vu all over again, with Governor Parnell’s Administration, industry representatives and experts giving testimony similar to what we heard in the TAPS Throughput Decline Committee that I chair. However, the information was new to some members of the Senate Resources Committee; different questions were asked and new insights were shared. The Resources committee also gave me additional opportunity to hear public testimony to learn what you have to say on this critical issue. The Democratic minority has introduced legislation to reduce oil taxes as well. While I have not had an opportunity to fully review their proposal yet, I am encouraged that these legislators are finally willing to admit that the current ACES tax system is causing harm to our state by dis-incentivizing increased oil production. We all continue to work at crafting a tax system that can best protect Alaska’s interests and increase its attractiveness to those willing to reverse the production decline; a key to a sustainable economy for Alaska as we work toward diversification.
Mayor Mike Navarre and I discussed events in the Kenai Peninsula Borough last Monday.
Other Committee Activities
Last week the Community & Regional Affairs Committee reported out SB 32. This bill is a first step in a potential future hydroelectric project that could provide energy cost reductions to communities in Southwest Alaska. We supported the bill once it was amended to allow research only and not construction of a dam on Chikuminuk Lake in the Wood-Tikchik Park. This week the Labor and Commerce Committee heard SB 23 relating to delivering natural gas via trucks to the Fairbanks area. I spoke a little about this proposal in my last newsletter. The Health & Social Services Committee passed out HB 88, which will remove the outdated term “Mentally Retarded” from state statutes and regulations and replace with the more appropriate “Developmentally Disabled” or “Intellectually Disabled”. On Thursday, the bill passed the Senate and is heading to the Governor to be signed into law. The Senate World Trade Committee also received a presentation from the World Trade Center Alaska.
Kelly Behen, Council Member for the Statewide Independent Living Council was down from Homer.
Lower Kenai State Parks Improvements
The Division of Parks & Outdoor Recreation reports on some recently completed projects in District O. The Anchor Point Boat Launch has a newly expanded and paved parking lot and roadway, new orientation and Kids Don’t Float kiosks, and bank revegetation and stabilization. The Kenai River Special Management Area, Funny River Campground boardwalk has been lowered and has a new gangway and dock. The Pillars Boat Launch, also in the Kenai River Special Management Area has a new dock system and dock removal mechanism along with an extension of the existing boat ramp. The Tonsina Bridge & Trail in the Caines Head State Recreation Area has undergone extensive trail improvements and the bridge has been rebuilt. I hope you and your families are able to utilize these improved facilities as you get outside to recreate.
Dean Hamburg of the Alaska School Nutrition Assn, Linda Kendall and Linda Swarner of the Kenai Peninsula Food Bank brought me a school lunch “tray” and a healthy snack.
Karen Kelly of the Homer Senior Center and Dani Kebschull of Soldotna stopped by to tell me the great things they are doing with AGENET to help seniors on the lower Kenai Peninsula.
Nominations Sought for Rasmuson Foundation 2013 Distinguished Artist Award
The Rasmuson Foundation offers one distinguished artist award annually to recognize the superior artistic accomplishments of an Alaska artist. This year, the foundation will award $40,000 to the winning artist, which is the largest amount since the award program’s inception in 2004.
Past winners of the award include Alaska artists Rie Munoz of Juneau; Kes Woodward, John Luther Adams and John Haines of Fairbanks; Ron Senungetuk of Homer; and Delores Elizabeth Churchill, Ray Troll and Nathan Jackson of Ketchikan.
Eligible artists include those how have dedicated themselves for at least 15 years to a significant professional art career of any artistic discipline. Nominations can be submitted online or by mail and are available at www.rasmuson.org.
The lower Kenai Peninsula has no shortage of extremely talented and dedicated artists. I hope you will nominate your favorite for this prestigious distinction.
Seldovia City Manager, Tim Dillon, came by my office to discuss ferry service and other issues.
KBEA Offers Scholarships
The Kenai Borough Employees Association scholarship committee is accepting applications for four scholarships of $500 each. Scholarships are available to all graduates of the Kenai Peninsula Borough including public schools, private schools and home-schooled students.
Applications are available at any high school counselor’s office or online at www.borough.kenai.ak.us
Applications must be delivered or postmarked by March 29.
To the Homer Chamber of Commerce and many volunteers who worked hard to make the 2013 Homer Winter Carnival a fun success.
Clem Tillion, of Halibut Cove, for receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Alaska Sealife Center.
Philip and Peggy Nash on their 50th wedding anniversary.
Basketball players, Kailee Skjold of Soldotna for earning honors in the Gold Bracket on the 2013 Lady Lynx Prep All-Tournament Team, and Justice English of Kenai for earning honors in the Maroon Bracket.
PeeWee hockey team, Homer Glacier Kings, for taking second place at the President’s Day Tournament in Anchorage.
SkillsUSA members who placed in their various events at the District Career and Technical Student Organizations Conference.
Nikiski Lady Bulldogs basketball team for winning the top title and the Lady Mariners for their second place finish at the Winter Carnival Basketball Tournament in Homer.
Mariner hockey coach Buck Laukitis for being named Region III Coach of the Year.
NAHL Combat Hockey West Division Star of the Week, Marcus Zelzer, goalie for the Kenai River Brown Bears and teammate, Alex Jackstadt, Star of the Week from the week prior.
Battle of the Books district champions, Homer Connections 5th & 6th grades team, Soldotna Middle School 7th & 8th grades team, and Kenai Central high school team. Kudos to all students who participated – that’s a lot of books to read!
Do you know someone with a recent accomplishment
I can acknowledge in a future issue?
Please email me and let me know.