During the last hours of session, SB 182, an omnibus education bill, passed both houses of the legislature. The bill addressed a number of funding issues for school districts, including pupil transportation, mill rate calculation (local participation), vocational education, and a pilot program for early learning. SB160, the capital budget, included a one-time $25 million item to be distributed to school districts. HB 284, the operating budget, appropriated $329 million for the Teacher Retirement System (TRS) and Public Employee Retirement System (PERS) unfunded liability for school districts, plus $60 million to fund the Department of Education that disburses many grants to school districts.
As we prepare for special session, here’s a look at our accomplishments by our Guiding Principles, which our caucus came together to create to better vet and prioritize bills.
There are a lot of good ones passed into law, but also a lot of good ones that the Senate didn’t see fit to pass, for whatever reason.
The 27th Alaska Legislature’s final regular session closed without key legislation enabling the Alaska Gasline Development Corporation to continue with its project delivering North Slope gas to Fairbanks, Southcentral and other communities. House Bill 9 sponsors Speaker Mike Chenault and Rep. Mike Hawker expressed disappointment in the Senate for failing Alaskans in need of affordable natural gas.
We held a memorial ceremony for Carl Gatto at the beginning of today’s House floor session. It’s still hard to fathom that he finally succumbed to cancer after all these years. He fought hard, never complained and continued to serve the citizens of Palmer, the Mat-Su Valley and state with distinction. You will be missed, Carl. May you rest in peace.