Well, we have started again. The Legislature convened January 21 and will wrap up its 90-day session on April 20 or sooner. We got a surprise with the unexpected resignation of Rep. Beth Kerttula (D- Juneau) who was the minority leader. The minority Democrats selected Chris Tuck (D-Anchorage) as their new minority leader, Max Gruenberg (D-Anchorage) as minority whip and Scott Kawasaki (D-Fairbanks) as the minority floor leader. Gov. Sean Parnell has 30 days to appoint a successor, who must be a Democrat, to Kerttula.
I expect that this year will focus on education and gas taxes. The budget discussions will circle around reductions more than increases. And, we hope the business friendly attitude will prevail again this year.
The more formidable issue for us may be dealing with the ballot initiative raising the minimum wage and indexing it to inflation. I expect it will qualify for the August Primary Ballot, because the sponsors submitted over 40,000 signatures. That likely gives them enough margin after bogus signatures are taken out of the count. They need slightly over 30,000 valid signatures.
There have been bills to mandate sick leave
(House Bill 227
) and require special areas for nursing mothers
(House Bill 228
) introduced. NFIB continues its opposition to both. You can read our letters of opposition to each sponsor are by clicking on the bill numbers above.
Rep. Scott Kawasaki introduced House Bill 248 calling for a Think Local Day
to support local businesses and other local activities. NFIB's support letter can be read here.
Sen. Fred Dyson introduced Senate Bill 110 to strengthen an individual's ability to recover their property
being held as evidence. NFIB's support letter can be read here.
All bills can be found here.
Type in the bill number in the search box as follows: hb123 or sb123 no spaces