Senator Roger Holland congratulates Kansas resident Mark Schreiner on having visited all fifty U.S. state capitals.   
Greetings Friends, Neighbors, and Visitors

First, I want to mention how great it is to have visitors back in the State Capitol building. Today, August 27th, was a special day for Mark Schreiner. A resident of Kansas City, Kansas, as he entered the Juneau Capitol Building, Mark was able to complete his bucket list of visiting all fifty state capitals.  I really enjoyed the opportunity to meet Mark and his wife, Judy, and Kim and Jay, two younger members of the family.   

I know it is a challenge for Alaskans to travel to Juneau, and I am a huge proponent for holding sessions on the road system. The best part of the job here in Juneau is being able to meet with constituent and non-constituent Alaskans and visitors to our great state, and getting to show them a little of the history that is Juneau.  If you ever thought you might like to visit Juneau, now is a great time.  Yes, the cruise ships are back, and the city is open for business, but it still seems strangely sparsely populated. 

It is great hearing from constituents, and I seriously believe that if you ever wonder, "What was Roger thinking?  Why did he say that?  Why did he vote that way?,"  please knock on my door, or send me an email, or give me a call.  My door is always open, and my cell phone number is 907-351-8277.  I still believe that my two highest priorities are to be accessible and to be willing to listen.

 
The Third (and Final?) Special Session

Well, we gaveled back in on August 16th for the Governor's 3rd Special Session to decide the future of the Permanent Fund Dividend and to address a few other budget issues.  It's hard to know where we will finally end up in this hopefully last special session of 2021.  There are still almost three full weeks to go, and even though there seems to be a common consensus on the way forward in both the House and the Senate, there is still dogged opposition to what many believe is a fair PFD. 

I hear the complete spectrum of requests and demands regarding the Permanent Fund Dividend.  Some Alaskans are happy with a zero PFD, some think the $500 or $1000 PFD is better, some are willing to compromise with the 50/50 POMV 5% PFD of $2350, some are pushing for the full statutory dividend of $3500 or so, and there are still others who want the full dividend with all back pay.  Currently, the back-pay is around $11,000 to $13,000 per Alaskan. 

Where am I in all this?  I voted for both the statutory ($3500) and the 50/50 POMV ($2300) formulas, and I voted against the $525 PFD that was offered in this year's budget.  I think the Governor did us a favor by vetoing the PFD and giving us this chance to fix it.  There is broad support in both the House and the Senate for the compromise 50/50 POMV PFD of $2300, and I am in that support.  I think this is a good compromise, and I know it is sustainable.  I also support the Governor's plan to protect the Permanent Fund and the PFD through constitutional legislation that has to be approved through a vote of the people.

I apologize for not having too many constituent meet-and-greet opportunities this year, but, literally, I have been a resident of Juneau for 80% of this year to date, and I have been away from south Anchorage entirely too much this year.  Hopefully, this third special session will allow us to formally fix issues we have argued extensively over the last several years, and we can get legislative sessions down to just 90 or 120 days a year!.  
 

Fiscal Policy Working Group

Legislative leaders representing all four caucuses announced the formation of a bicameral, bipartisan Fiscal Policy Working Group. With a particular focus on a long-term solution for the Permanent Fund Dividend, the group will develop a plan to solve Alaska’s fiscal challenge.

The group will consist of the following members:

  • Senator Lyman Hoffman, D-Bethel (Senate Majority)

  • Senator Shelley Hughes, R-Palmer (Senate Majority)

  • Senator Scott Kawasaki, D-Fairbanks (Senate Minority)

  • Senator Jesse Kiehl, D-Juneau (Senate Minority)

  • Representative Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins, D-Sitka (House Majority)

  • Representative Calvin Schrage, I-Anchorage (House Majority)

  • Representative Ben Carpenter, R-Nikiski (House Minority)

  • Representative Kevin McCabe, R-Mat-Su Valley (House Minority)



Link to Fiscal Policy Working Group Final Report>>

Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the future of the Permanent Fund and the Permanent Fund Dividend.

Senate Judiciary Back in Action
 

As one of the freshman Senators this year, it has been my focus to be apart of the solution and not accepting business as usual. As Chairman of Senate Judiciary, committee members and I met on Friday, August 27th for a special committee meeting to revisit Senate Bill 53.  We initially heard this bill and took public testimony back in April.

SB 53 would establish a new statutory framework for disbursing permanent fund income. The spending, based on the market value of the permanent fund, would be allocated for two purposes divided equally: 50% would be available for the annual dividend (PFD), and 50% would go to the the general fund for other state spending.  As a legislature, we seem unable to give Alaskans a reliable idea of what the PFD will look like from one year to the next.  One of the goals of this third special session is to resolve this issue.

We will be discussing SB 53 again on Monday, August 30th at about 10:30 am, and I have invited guest testimony to provide some interesting insights on the permanent Fund and the PFD.  We will probably schedule at least one more Judiciary Committee meeting for SB 53 shortly.  Please email your thoughts to Senate.Judiciary@akleg.gov. 

And the Senate Judiciary Committee Meetings can be viewed http://www.akleg.gov/basis/Committee/Details/32?code=SJUD#tab2_7 

Alaska Redistricting Board

Since 2020 was a Census Year, every state in the nation is re-assessing their political districts based on new Census data. Alaska's Redistricting Board is composed of five members: John Binkley (Chair), Melanie Bahnke, Nicole Borromeo, Bethany Marcum, and Budd Simpson. The Board will have the challenging job of determining which  districts require reapportioning and then what the new district map will look like.

The Alaska Redistricting Board's website can be viewed here: https://www.akredistrict.org/pop .  There is a lot of information to be found there, but here are the brief details so far.

The new ideal House District size for Alaska (based on the 2020 Census data) was calculated to be 18,335 residents per district for this new redistricting cycle.  District 27, with a 2020 population of 17,836, appears to be 499 residents short of the ideal number, or 2.7% less than ideal, and District 28, with a 2020 population of 18,452, appears to be 117 residents over the ideal number, or 0.8% greater than ideal.

With a target of being within 5% of the ideal number, it is hard to imagine either of those districts being selected for redistricting, but we will have to watch the process play out.  As the board starts pushing and pulling other district perimeters trying to get them within their "ideal count," it is quite possible that the borders of District N will be altered to the point that we will have another District N election in 2022.  We will know more in the next few months.  

The tables below just show the historical changes in Districts 27 and 28 from 2010 to 2020.  As you can see, both districts had marginal increases from 2010 to 2020, but they were both still short of the calculated ideal House district size of 18,335 residents.
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CONTACT YOUR SENATOR

Contact Info:
Email: sen.roger.holland@akleg.gov

Session Contact
State Capitol Room 115
Juneau, AK 99801
Phone: 907-465-4843

Interim Contact
1500 W. Benson Blvd.
Anchorage, AK 99503
Phone: 907-269-0181

Cell/Text 907-351-8277

 

COMMUNITY COUNCILS

Federation of Community Councils
 
Bear Valley CC meeting September 8th 7PM
 
GBOS Regular meeting Monday, September 20th 7​PM
 
Rabbit Creek CC meeting September 9th 7PM
 
Scenic Foothills CC meeting September 2nd 6PM
 
Turnagain Arm CC meeting September 9th 7PM
Copyright © 2021 Senator Roger Holland, All rights reserved.


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