From the Desk of Representative Seaton End of 26th Legislature

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From the Desk of Representative Seaton End of 26th Legislature Powered By Docstoc
					                      Alaska State Legislature, House District 35

 From the Desk of Representative Seaton:
    End of 26th Legislature Newsletter
                                                                             July, 2010 vol. 96
        Greetings! It is great to be home after a                     Personal Legislation
busy 90-day session. As I have expressed be-               It often takes a few years to get a bill
fore, trying to cram all the issues into 90 days     passed and persistence is a key to legislative
narrowed the focus of the legislature and I          success. I will pursue the following bills that
hope we will address the 90 day restriction in       did not pass this session.
the next session.
        One of the casualties of the narrowed               HB 46– Mixing Zones would change a
focus was education. Although the previous           current Department of Environmental Conser-
legislature had prioritized education reform by      vation regulation and prevent discharge of pol-
establishing standing committees on Educa-           lutants into any freshwater spawning area. HB
tion, the myriad of oil and gas bills engulfed       46 is also a public right-to-know bill fostering
both the House and Senate. The committees            accountability by giving the public clear and
worked hard and crafted solutions to many            easy access to information regarding the
problems with education funding, however,
neither house elevated the issues to must-
haves in the short session.
        I am extremely disappointed that the
Governor Chose to veto $4,275,000 from the
$4.8m Anchor Point to Homer Gas Pipeline
project. This project would have significantly
lowered residential heating costs and helped to
reduce the operating budget for Homer area
businesses and public buildings.
        I was able to get a provision expressing
support for local distribution of liquid natural
                                                       Representatives Seaton and Lynn during State Affairs Committee
gas (LNG) in the resolution extending the Ke-
nai LNG plant export license, HR 17. The use         amount and nature of pollutants that are dis-
of LNG could allow peninsula towns like Sew-         charged by permit into Alaska waters.
ard, Seldovia, the Old Believer villages, and               HB 179 - Kenai River Special Man-
Cooper Landing to access natural gas when a          agement Area (KRSMA) Public comment on
pipeline is impractical. I am a strong advo-         the review of the Department of Natural Re-
cate for liquid natural gas as a way to get our      sources' Kenai Area Plan clearly indicates that
gas to all Alaskans, regardless of their prox-       the State should manage the Kenai River as a
imity to a distribution line.                        watershed system. HB 179 would add 4,911
Subscribe to my weekly session email newsletter by   acres of general state lands including 11 upper
emailing me at     Kenai River or Kenai Lake tributaries to the
boundary of KRSMA. This will provide uni-           disappointed this bill did not pass, although
form protection and management oversight.           money was put in the budget for forward
       HB 132 -Alaska’s Bike Bill would set up      funding. The committee passed HB 206
a program through the Department of Transpor-       repealing the High School Graduation
tation that allows municipalities and nonprofit     Qualifying Exam (HSGQE) in response to
organizations to apply for funding to develop       the court finding in the Moore vs. Alaska
and sponsor alternatives to motorized travel by     case that found the combination of an in-
encouraging bicycle use.                            adequate preparation in chronically under-
       HB 200 - Access to Federal Clean Wa-         performing school districts and the required
ter Fund for Low Cost Loans provides a mar-         exam were unconstitutional. The commit-
ket incentive to promote healthy water systems      tee’s work on creating a need and merit
by expanding access to the Alaska Clean Water       based scholarship was incorporated into the
Fund. It accomplishes this by allowing banks to     final version of SB221, establishing the
establish low-interest financing for nonpoint       framework for the scholarship, which will
source pollution control projects through a         be fleshed out by a task force over the sum-
linked deposit program. This would allow de-        mer. Vocational Education was a focus of
velopers to borrow funds for incorporating          the committee this year as demonstrated by
green space and watershed protection into their     the increase in forward funding dedicated
construction, farmers to access the funds for ag-   to career-tech education and support for
riculture, and many other potential uses.           WorkKeys, an assessment of vocational
       HB 389 – Alaska Manufacture Prefer-          readiness.
ence allows fishermen that borrow from the
Commercial Fishing Loan Fund for product            RESOURCES COMMITTEE
quality or engine efficiency upgrades to receive    The primary work of the Resources Com-
a reduction in the interest rate on their loan if   mittee this session was on oil and gas is-
50% of their loan is spent on a product manu-       sues. Legislation was before the committee
factured in the State of Alaska.                    to decrease the progressive tax rate on oil
                                                    and gas, to increase oil and gas tax credits
EDUCATION COMMITTEE                                 for both exploration work and in-field well
During the 26th Legislature I chaired the House     work, to separate or "decouple" the tax on
Education Committee. We held over 79 hear-          gas from the tax on oil, and to incentivize
ings on legislation and overviews on a myriad of    gas storage facilities in Cook Inlet. I op-
education issues such as Charter Schools, Home      posed and ultimately moved to table legis-
School programs, Correspondence Schools,            lation that would seriously decrease the
Boarding Schools, the University of Alaska and      progressive tax rate on oil and gas. I
Alternative Schools. The committee approved         amended legislation that would have al-
two charter school bills that became law, one to    lowed hundreds of millions of state dollars
increase pupil funding for small charter schools,   to be spent on tax credits for oil and gas
and another to lift the cap on the number of        companies for routine work on wells in ex-
charter schools allowed in Alaska and creating a    isting oil fields, so it would only apply to
framework for charter school facility fund-         work above their past average levels of
ing. The committee moved legislation to for-        work. Although this legislation did not
ward fund education for the next two years and      pass, the impact of my amendment would
increase vocational education funding. I am         have saved you over $200 million per year.
 HEALTH AND SOCIAL SERVICES                        bridges are in place.
       The Health & Social Services commit-        The project to repave the Sterling highway be-
tee looked at many topics to improve health        tween MP 45 and MP 60 in Cooper Landing is
care in Alaska. The following bills passed         in design this year with construction scheduled
both House and Senate: SB 238 fixed the            for 2011. $6 million in federal money has
problem that senior citizens had with income       been allocated for this project. A draft Envi-
eligibility requirements for medical assistance    ronmental Impact Statement should be out for
in a medical or intermediate care facility. SB     public review this year on the Cooper Landing
13 increased Denali Kid Care from 175% to          bypass project.
200%. I was supportive of these increases and      Upgrades to improve the safety of school
deeply disappointed with the governor’s veto       zones will begin in July for a number of Kenai
of the increase. SB 50 prohibits excessive         Peninsula Schools, including West Homer Ele-
mandatory overtime for Nurses and HB 168           mentary School, Homer Middle School, and
addresses certification and designation of         McNeil Canyon Elementary School.
Trauma Care Centers. HB 126 fixed problems         Rehabilitation of East End Road from the east-
with Foster care relating to children and young    ern entrance to Kachemak Drive to approxi-
adults. SB 10 requires Insurance Providers to      mately Waterman Road (mile 5.1) will be in
pay for routine medical care when an individ-      the design and environmental phase this sum-
ual is participating in cancer clinical trials.    mer. More public involvement is planned on
                                                   the project.
        A lot of the committee work in State Af-   CAPITAL BUDGET
fairs this session focused on Disclosure Re-              This year’s capital budget was large,
quirements for Independent Corporate Expen-        partially in an attempt to make up for having
ditures (SB 284) in reference to the U.S. Su-      essentially no state dollars in the capital
preme Court decision to allow independent ex-      budget last year. However, there were still
penditures by corporations and labor unions.       many worthy projects in House District 35 that
Senate Bill 284 amends state election laws to      did not make it into the budget, despite our
clarify that corporations and labor unions are     best attempts. Annually there are hundreds of
covered by all applicable reporting require-       millions more in requests than money to spend
ments. I was the sponsor of a House Floor          in House District 35 alone. Thank you to all
amendment requiring audio disclaimers which        the organizations and individuals who advo-
must be used by corporations, labor unions, or     cated for their projects. Although I am pleased
LLCs who make independent expenditures for         that community priorities such as roads, de-
television or radio ads in political campaigns     ferred maintenance and park improvements
and ballot questions. This is important so citi-   were not axed by the Governor, I was very dis-
zens can know the true source of funds for ei-     appointed with his veto of a major portion of
ther negative or positive TV and radio ads.        the Anchor Point to Homer Gas line project
                                                   that would have provided affordable energy to
ROADS                                              southern peninsula residents. A list of the pro-
Construction of permanent replacement              jects for House District 35 is on the back page.
bridges at Trail River, Falls Creek and Ptarmi-
gan Creek on the Seward Highway is sched-
uled for 2011. This summer the temporary
District 35 Capital Budget Projects
Seward Area
DOT - Seward Airport Emergency Repair and Upgrade $2,020,000
DOL- AVTEC Deferred Maintenance $1,000,000
DOL -AVTEC Alternative Energy Training Facility Expansion $1,000,000
DOL -AVTEC Culinary Video Teleconferencing Equipment $412,695
DOL- AVTEC Culinary Video Academy Equipment $500,000
DOL- AVTEC Medium Heavy Duty Truck Training Equipment $1,000,000
DOT -Seward Highway: Milepost 18 to 22.5 Reconstruction -Snow River to Trail River $28,000,000
DOT -Sterling Highway: Milepost 45 to 60 Resurfacing $9,000,000
AK Comm. Foundation - Jesse Lee Home Restoration $1,500,000
Alaska Sealife Center - Seawater Intake Pipelines Biofouling Remediation $1,000,000
City of Seward - Mooring Dolphins and Dock Improvement at Seward Marine Center $1,500,000
Alutiq Pride Hatchery - Repairs and Upgrades $150,000
City of Seward - Community Library $4,700,000
City of Seward - Commercial Passenger Vessel Harbor Security - Coast Gaurd Building Relocation
City of Seward - Security and Fire Protection for Commercial Passenger Vessels $2,000,000
Cooper Landing
Camp Fire USA - Camp Kushtaka Rebuild $700,000
Cooper Landing Seniors - Housing Garage and Workshop $95,000
Southern Kenai Peninsula
Cook Inlet Aquaculture Association - Deferred Maintenance and Hatchery Upgrades $1,000,000
City of Homer - Anchor Point to Homer Natural Gas Pipeline $4,800,000 (cut to $525,000)
Homer Foundation - Community Activity and Education Programming $30,000
SNOWMADS - Willard Road Improvements $50,000
City of Homer - Deep Water Dock Expansion $1,000,000
City of Homer - Karen Hornaday Park Improvements $250,000
Anchor Point Senior Center - Improvements $65,000
Pratt Museum - Schematic Design, Museum Expansion $100,000
UAA - Kachemak Bay Campus Completion of New Facility $250,000

                                                                 Rep. Seaton’s Interim
                                                                 Contact Information:
                                                                 Mailing Address:
                                                                 345 W. Sterling Hwy
                                                                 Ste 102B,
                                                                 Homer, Alaska 99603
                                                                 Phone: 235-2921
                                                                 Fax: (907) 235-4008

Rep. Seaton and employees of the Departments of Revenue,         Email:
Corrections and Transportation at the annual Legislative Shoot
sponsored by the Alaska Correctional Officers Association

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