March 6, 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 5
Save the Date! • Oil Production Tax Update •
Reasserting Efforts to Open ANWR • Alaska Vietnam Veterans’ Day Established • MTAB bill advances from Senate Transportation
I have a new unofficial advisor on staff. The great Clem Tillion, spent much time with me this week discussing his views on where Alaska should be going on key issues. When a man once known as Governor Hammond’s “strong right arm and swift left foot” speaks, I listen. Clem has forgotten more about Alaska than many of us will ever know. He left me with humorous, but sound advice for raising daughters. He said, “When my daughters were 12, I bought them a horse. I called it pre-flight training. It taught them to handle something big, warm and not very bright”. Clem, thanks for the honor of your time and service!
Dear Friends and Neighbors,
My staff and I took a break from the regular business of the state legislature one evening last week to have fun to support returning veterans. “Spank the Dog”, a classic rock band comprised of legislators and University of Alaska President, Patrick Gamble, hosted a fundraiser for a program that helps returning veterans connect with their children through fishing/hunting trips to Alaska. I donated a halibut fishing trip on my boat and partnered with the Kenai River Sportfishing Association for a river fishing trip. The outing received a winning auction bid of $1,400. Teri Robl in our office donated a gourmet Alaska seafood and wild game dinner for eight, which sold for $850. The band played great music while the event raised over $25,000 to honor returning veterans that sacrifice much to keep us safe and free.
In spite of the one evening off, we are working as hard as ever and are starting to see some of that work pay off, as I will discuss below.
Later this week, the legislature will take a pause so that some members can travel to Washington DC to attend Energy Council. I will not be attending Energy Council, but will instead take that time and come home for a short visit to meet with you, my constituents. Hopefully I’ll get a chance to see you over the weekend. Please come to one of our “community meeting” events (see below) and talk to me about the issues and your personal concerns.
Thank you again for reading my newsletter. Please continue to stay in touch.
Senator Peter Micciche
Senate District O, Lower Kenai Peninsula
Vic Fischer, primary framer of the Alaska Constitutional, honored me with a lengthy visit to my office where we talked about the past, present and future of this great state. Vic is as sharp as ever and has no problem sharing his insightful thoughts about Alaska issues. He also signed my copy of his book, “To Russia with Love”.
Save the Date!
I’ll be home for a short visit this weekend and would love to see you. Come find out what’s happening this legislative session, let me know what’s on your mind, and enjoy some pizza and refreshments.
- Homer area – Homer City Council Chambers
Friday, March 8
From 5pm to 7pm
- Soldotna/Kenai area – Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly Chambers
Saturday, March 9
From 1pm to 3pm
IDEA Homeschool students from Ninilchik, Kody and Esther Knox presented their proposal for a program to help keep kids from abusing illegal drugs, and to help people that have fallen to drug abuse on the road to recovery.
Oil Production Tax Update
After much consideration and discussion, we in the Senate Resources committee, amended and then reported out SB 21. The new version of the bill sets a fair, predictable tax structure with a greater share for Alaskans than the Governor’s original SB21. I increased the flat tax from 25% to 35% to make the tax slightly progressive. Other improvements include expanding incentives by increasing the gross revenue exclusion from 20% to 30% for “new oil”; and importantly, promoting Alaska employment and economic development through a corporate income tax credit for Alaska manufacture of oil and gas equipment. Additionally, our changes include the establishment of a non-partisan Alaskan Review Board charged with ensuring that companies reinvest in Alaska production and evaluating Alaska’s oil and gas tax laws in light of the global economy. View the press release here, and read my responses to a reporter’s questions here. The Senate Finance committee is now reviewing the bill. I am engaged in discussions with members of that committee to ensure that any additional amendments continue the intent of promoting competitiveness while protecting the state’s interests. Overall, I am pleased at the level of scrutiny the legislature is giving this issue, and am especially encouraged by the amount of public input we are receiving.
Larry and I had deputy DOT&PF commissioner, Jeff Ottesen brief us on current and future Kenai Peninsula road infrastructure projects. Also pictured is Connie McKenzie, DOT&PF Legislative Liaison.
Reasserting Efforts to Open ANWR
I sponsored SJR3, the 28th Legislature's resolution asking the U.S. Congress to open the Coastal Plain in the Arctic National Wilderness Refuge to oil and gas development. Since the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANILCA) was enacted in 1980, every legislature has passed a resolution supporting this limited development and asking the Congress to take action. So we brushed off the previous resolutions and updated them to reflect such advancements as the ongoing construction of a pipeline connecting Pt. Thompson to the TAPS and thus spanning about half the necessary distance to the ANWR sites.
I believe that technology along with our oversight, will allow for both drilling activity and the continued robust health of wildlife populations and the environment.
President Obama stated, “America’s dependence on oil is one of the most serious threats that our nation has faced. It bankrolls dictators, pays for nuclear proliferation and funds both sides of our struggle against terrorism. It puts the American people at the mercy of shifting gas prices, stifles innovation, and sets back our ability to compete.” I agree but challenge that words are just words until put into action. Opening ANWR would help the U.S. become independent from those most often not friends of our country or our way of life. It is in Alaska’s interest to have that energy come from our state.
SJR 3 was heard and reported from the Senate Resources committee and then was passed unanimously by the full Senate on Friday. It will next head to the House of Representatives where it should receive equal support. Read my Senate floor speech here. View the press release here.
Senate floor speech on the importance of SJR3 to Alaskans and the energy independence of our nation.
Alaska Vietnam Veterans’ Day Established
While not usually the type interested in naming state holidays for every occasion that comes along, I felt that dedicating one day a year to honor Vietnam veterans was important – so much so that I became the first cross-sponsor of the enabling legislation. Vietnam veterans faced difficult conditions abroad and in many cases a less than warm reception upon returning home. The time has come for these brave Alaskans to be honored for their service. With the passage of HB 67 last week, every March 29th Alaskans can take the time to pay our respects for the sacrifices made by this special group of service men and women.
Homer Mayor Beth Wythe and Community and Economic Development Coordinator Katie Koester came by to discuss Homer issues and projects and to admire the aerial photo of Homer they sent help decorate the office (I’m hoping to get similar photos from other district communities). We also had an opportunity to visit after work with our families, Representative Seaton and his wife and all of our staff.
I requested a meeting with Doug Johnson of Ocean Renewable Power Company to discuss his project in Cook Inlet. I’ve been excited about the renewable generation potential for tidal energy since first seeing the awesome power of Cook Inlet as a young boy. We’re getting closer! Learn about their project in Maine by clicking here: http://www.orpc.co/newsevents_mediacenter.aspx?id=4tKZJsmT1bM%3d
MTAB bill advances from Senate Transportation
Legislation I am co-sponsoring, SB 24, will add an additional seat to the Marine Transportation Advisory Board designated specifically for a member representing Homer, Seldovia, Kodiak, Old Harbor, Port Lions and Ouzinkie. This bill was reported from the Senate Transportation Committee and now heads to the Senate Finance Committee.
Bruce Richards and Rick Davis of Central Peninsula Hospital were in Juneau for a couple of days and stopped by to update me on medical issues at home on the Kenai.
Alaska’s Office of the Ombudsman helps resolve complaints about state government
Are you having problems with state government that you have been unable to resolve? The Ombudsman may be able to help. The Alaska Legislature created the Office of the Ombudsman to make sure that government follows the rules and treats all citizens fairly and reasonably. The Ombudsman is a non-partisan, impartial fact-finder who will investigate complaints against government agencies and employees at no cost. The Ombudsman takes no sides in a dispute, but if she finds a problem, she will confront the agency and recommend a solution.
To reach the Ombudsman call 1-800-478-2624, visit the website at http://ombud.alaska.gov write to P.O. Box 101140, Anchorage, 99510-1140, or fax at (907) 269-5291.
Koichi Funayama, Consul of Japan to Alaska, came by my office where we talked about the important relationship between our state and his country. Japan has been our key energy and seafood trade partner for generations and we look forward to a bright future together.
PFD Application Deadline Nears
If you haven’t applied for your Alaska Permanent Fund Dividend yet, be sure to do so before the deadline, one minute before midnight (11:59pm) Sunday March 31st. To apply go to the dividend’s website at www.pfd.state.ak.us . If you prefer paper applications, they can be picked up at the Kenai or Homer Legislative Information Offices or your local library. Also, here is an optimal chance for you to donate to your favorite Alaskan charity through Pick. Click. Give.
Donna Phillips, and Soldotna’s, Velinda East and Cheri Stramechy all of the Alaska Nurses Association and I talked about testing newborn babies, pharmacies, pain management and other matters of importance to nurses.
Happy 100th Birthday
To longtime Ninilchik resident and invaluable contributor to our great state, Juanita Bertoson. I had the pleasure of honoring Juanita with a legislative citation commemorating the 100th birthday event.
Former Lieutenant Governor, Senator, pride of Ninichik and beloved nephew, Loren Leman, presents his aunt Juanita Bertoson a legislative citation commemorating her 100th birthday.
To the brave service members of the United States Coast Guard who ventured out in rough, windy and cold conditions after dark in their Jayhawk helicopter to retrieve a wet Kelly Brennan of Seldovia, after he had to beach is inoperable skiff near Point Pogibshi.
To the Anchor Point Chamber of Commerce, donors and volunteers for another fun-filled and successful Anchor Point Snow Rondi.
To retiring Soldotna City Clerk Teresa Fahning for over nine years of dedicated service. Teresa is an incredible public servant responsible for managing much of the forward progress in Soldotna the last several years. Teresa will be sorely missed by all. Congratulations Teresa!
Kasilof’s Paul Gebhardt, and Kristy and Anna Berington in the Iditarod Sled Dog Race. Be safe and good luck!
Kenai Central High School junior Courtney Stroh who was recently named Boys and Girls Clubs Alaska 2013 Youth of the Year.
Bunnell Street Art Center for being awarded a $10,000 grant from the Washington-based Paul G. Allen Family Foundation to support the Visual Arts Exhibition Program showcasing Alaska artists.
Homer painter, Kathy Smith, for receiving the $1,500 Alex Combs Award from the Bunnell Street Art Center.
Kenai River Brown Bears, for their victory at the North American Hockey League Top Prospects Tournament in Michigan.
Battle of the Books state championship contestants: Homer Connections 5th-6th grade team for their 2nd place finish; Soldotna Middle School, middle school team for their 3rd place finish; and 4th place finishers Kenai Central, high school team.
Homer Middle School students, Zane Boyer, Logan Harris and Kenny Cortez for qualifying for the state Math Counts competition.
All-Northwest Music Festival selected participants from Kenai Central High School: Lucienne Anderson, Duncan Brewer, Lucas Bruxwoort, Mackenzie Evenson, Sean Kruger, Taylor Burke, Jamie Fenton, Kylie Hendrickson, Josephine Jones, Alexandria Bergholtz, Ariana Gabriel, Jeffrey McNutt, Kirsten Nyquist, Rebecca Andrew, Victoria Askin, Brett Brown, Olen Danielson, Bradley Hamilton and teachers Deborah Sounart and Renee Henderson; and from Homer High School: Joseph Cardoza, Hope Hudson, Jacob Mayforth, Cruz Morey, John Walsworth, Mariah Stuart, Kenneth Schneider, and teacher Kyle Schneider.
National Ocean Sciences statewide “Alaska Tsunami Bowl” competitors from Homer High School “That Dam Team” members Adi Davis, Katherine Dolma, Dylan Faulkner and Axel Gillam for their first place finish in the ROV competition and tenth place overall finish; and “Team Salmonids” members Aurora Waclawski, Molly Mitchell, Nolan Bunting, Logan Reveil and Barae Hirsch for their eight place overall finish.
Do you know someone with a recent accomplishment
I can acknowledge in a future issue?
Please email me and let me know.