Over the first half of the Session, I have had the opportunity to make it back to the Valley several times. Getting away from the legions of bureaucrats that dominate Juneau in its isolation and talking and listening to real people is not only enjoyable, but critical in doing my job for you more effectively. During my trips home, whether at a formal town hall, discussions at community events, the grocery store, or wherever folks have stopped me to talk, there has been one consistent theme – reduce the budget.
In fairness, there have also been a few that wish to increase spending, use the Permanent Fund Dividend, and impose a number of taxes to finance government spending. However, this position has been the minority view point. Even most who support new revenue measures also say that budget reductions must be made first.
As I write this article, the House of Representatives has rolled back many of the modest, yet hard fought reductions made by the House Finance Budget Subcommittees. House Finance Committee members Representatives Lynn Gattis and Tammie Wilson did their best to hold the line, but were overwhelmed by a combination of Democrats and Republicans voting for budget increases.
I am hopeful that the Senate will be able to hold the reductions we have made to date, and even make additional reductions. We clearly do not have any choice.
Update on My Legislation
Although the Senate has been working on both the budget and legislation at the same time, now that the House has passed the operating budget, they will be considering “non-budgetary” items. These are a few of bills that I have sponsored:
Senate Bill 42 – “Alaskans First Fishing Act”
This measure would provide a priority to resident fishery users (personal use, subsistence) in times of shortage. The commercial fishing industry and their cache of lobbyists have pulled out all the stops to kill this bill.
Senate Joint Resolution 12 – Elected Attorney General
This measure would allow the voters of Alaska to decide whether or not the people of Alaska elect the Attorney General, providing for a people’s attorney, not the Governor’s attorney. I hope to bring this measure to the Senate Floor soon.
Senate Concurrent Resolution 15 – Countermand Amendment
This measure would allow a super majority of the states to overturn federal actions made by unelected bureaucrats.
Senate Bill 124 – Extend the Alaska Commission on Aging
This measure extends the Alaska Commission on Aging, which allows the state to receive millions of dollars in federal grants for senior services. This bill is in the Senate Finance Committee.
Contact Senator Bill Stoltze
· Toll Free: 866-465-4958
· Fax: 907-465-4928
· Email: Senator.Bill.Stoltze@akleg.gov