House bills: State song, mental health, prisoners - Must Read Alaska
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Thursday, July 2, 2020
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House bills: State song, mental health, prisoners

The first batch of pre-filed bills for the Legislature includes the spectrum of the sublime to the ridiculous. Most of the bills in the first release of bills are sponsored by Democrats or members of the Democrat-led House Majority. Those have a better chance of passing the House because of the sponsors’ majority status:

HB 180, sponsored by Adam Wool: Relating to the Board of Regents of the University of Alaska. It would, among other things, allow the president of the University of Alaska System to cast a tie-breaking vote on the Board of Regents. Details here.

HB 181, sponsored by Matt Claman: Relating to mental health education. “Health guidelines must provide standards for instruction in mental health and shall be developed in consultation with the Department of Health and Social Services and representatives of national and state mental health organizations.” Details here.

HB 182, sponsored by Geran Tarr: Relating to testing of sexual assault examination kits; and providing for an effective date. It reduces the length of time that rape kits must be processed from one year to six months. Details here.

HB 183, sponsored by Zack Fields: Relating to the duties of the Department of Health and Social Services; relating to the duties of the Department of Labor and Workforce Development; and relating to staffing and wage standards for the Alaska Psychiatric Institute. Among other things, the bill says this state-owned facility, now being run by a private contractor, must pay prevailing wages. Details here.

HB 184, sponsored by Tammie Wilson: Exempting veterinarians from the requirements of the controlled substance prescription database. Details here.

HB 185, sponsored by Louise Stutes: Relating to the registration of commercial vessels; and providing for an effective date. This is a streamlining bill. Details here.

HB 186, sponsored by Louise Stutes: Naming the Irene Webber Bridge at Mile 9.5 of the Copper River Highway. Details here.

HB 187, sponsored by Zack Fields: Relating to correctional facilities; relating to the authority of the commissioner of corrections to designate the correctional facility to which a prisoner is to be committed; and providing for an effective date. Basically ties the hands of the Corrections officials. Details here.

HB 188, sponsored by Zack Fields: Relating to education tax credits for certain payments and contributions for child care and child care facilities; and providing for an effective date. Details here.

HB 189, sponsored by Dave Talerico: An Act relating to the identification, location, and notification of specified family members of a child who is in state custody. If a child is taken out of a home by the State, within 30 days it will perform due diligence to inform a noncustodial parent or adult family member. Details here.

HB 190, sponsored by Dave Talerico: Relating to allowable absences for a permanent fund dividend; and providing for an effective date. If an Alaskan is accompanying a person, such as child or family member, out of state for an extended period of time (such as medical treatment), that Alaskan will be granted the time as an allowable absence, when it comes to the Permanent Fund dividend. Details here.

HB 191, sponsored by Tammie Wilson: Relating to church attendance of a child who is in state custody. If a foster child is placed in a home, efforts will be made to ensure that child can continue attending his/her church of choice. Details here.

HB 192, sponsored by Matt Claman: Removing certain limitations on campaign contributions made by nonresidents. Allows out-of-state people to contribute to campaigns. Details here.

HB 193, sponsored by Andi Story: Adding a second verse to the official state song. The new second verse has been bandied about for years, but few people find it artful. Details and lyrics here.

HB 194, sponsored by Sarah Vance: Relating to consolidation of school districts; and providing for an effective date. The Department of Education shall consolidate school districts in the state from 54 school districts in the state to 18 school districts in the state. Consolidation of school districts in regional educational attendance areas must be based on common geographic or cultural needs, as determined by the department. Details here.

HB 195, sponsored by Andy Josephson: Relating to the Board of Regents of the University of Alaska. Changes the requirements so that a quorum is seven regents, rather than six. Details here.

HB 196, sponsored by Zack Fields: Relating to the maximum annual awards for Alaska performance scholarships. Changes the maximum amount of the scholarship to $4,755. Details here.

HB 197, sponsored by Chris Tuck: Extending the Alaska Seismic Hazards Safety Commission. Details here.

HB 198, sponsored by Andy Josephson: Relating to aggravating factors considered at sentencing. Adds gender identity and sexual orientation as aspects that would intensify the sentence of someone who perpetrated a crime against these categories of victims. Details here.

HJR 22, sponsored by Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins: Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the State of Alaska repealing the repayment requirement of the Constitutional Budget Reserve. This bill is merely an admission that the Legislature has no intention of repaying the fund, but would need to be voted on by the public. No more sweeping of unspent funds into the CBR. Details here.

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Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.

Latest comments

  • Well I see that they have already decided to spend the entire session on busy work. I do agree with one House Bill…HB194 has been a long time coming.

    • Agreed.

  • The idea of consolidation of school districts by Sarah Vance is pure genius and an idea I have long supported. I’m sure there are too many leeches in this state sucking blood from the system to ever have this get traction but it’s an awesome piece of legislation. Another one that would be great but is more related to the Federal Government would be one good system of medical care. Why do we have three systems–Veteran’s, Native and everyone else? We have so many different areas, including regulatory agencies and commissions, that would be so much better by consolidating them.

  • HB 195, sponsored by Andy Josephson: More corruption and a big “NO” to this whole bill. The university system needs to be broken up and this bill adds to the corruption of the standing board and president. By the way, why wasn’t the idiot Johnson fired and the board chairman as well. More fraud, waste and abuse on the way.

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