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4th Special Session of 30th Alaska State Legislature

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Alaska State Legislature, House District 31

From the Desk of Representative Seaton:
December 4, 2017
 
Greetings!
 
I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving with friends and family.
 
Below are some updates that I felt you might be interested in.  Please contact my office if you have any questions.
 
I expect the Governor’s FY19 budget will be released on time, Dec. 15. Shortly after, I will provide you a summary update of how the operating and capital budgets affect our district.  The 2018 session starts on January 16.
 
Reminder – Open Enrollment through Dec. 15!
Open Enrollment for ACA health insurance is now through Dec. 15, 2017 to enroll in or change your 2018 Marketplace health insurance.  Financial support and extra savings are also available to Alaskans who qualify.  Alaskans can call the Get Covered Alaska helpline at 1-844-PLANSAK or visit www.getcoveredalaska.org to learn more. Additional help is available here.
“Navigators” in our District 31 that can assist you:
  • South Peninsula Hospital (Homer) 907-235-8101
  • Peninsula Community Health Services (Soldotna) 907-260-5017
  • SVT Health Clinic (Homer) 907-226-2228
  • Kachemak Bay Family Planning Clinic (Homer) 907-235-3436
More info at:  http://www.HealthCare.gov
 
Aircraft Registration and Proposed Fees
The Department of Transportation and Public Facilities is proposing new regulations to implement aircraft registration and related fees, and has published a "Supplemental Notice" regarding an additional Public Hearing to be held on December 9, 2017 in Anchorage.  The proposed regulations can be found here. DOT&PF is having an extended comment period of 60 days instead of the required minimum of 30 days, and are taking written comments until January 5, 2018.  To date there have been three public hearings to take oral testimony and written comments in Juneau on November 9th, Fairbanks on November 14th, and Anchorage on November 20th.
 
Currently aircraft are registered through the FAA only, so the state does not know who in the state owns personal aircraft. More importantly, state officials are unable to quickly contact pilots in the event there is an emergency that could interfere with flying since this contact information is not available. The intent of the registration has two purposes. The first is to establish a listing of all aircraft owners in the state with contact information. Email distribution lists can be used to inform pilots of such things as runway closures, emergency notices, and other emergency conditions that can quickly arise in Alaska. The second part is to collect fees to assist with the cost of maintenance and operations for state owned airports. Currently the state does not collect any fees for use of state airports. The DOT/PF Statewide Aviation has lost 33 % of its funding since Fiscal Year 2015. In the absence of a state fiscal plan, the department has no other option but to implement fees to offset the cost of routine maintenance and operations. Without new revenue, the department would need to consider closing several airports, or significantly scaling back hours of operations for rural state-owned airports.
 
The proposed annual fee is $150 for personal aircraft that are not flown for commercial use, and $250 per aircraft that is for commercial use. The fee is expected to generate between $1 million and $1.4 million annually with the intent of the funding appropriated back to DOT/PF for maintaining airports. If you are a pilot or own an aircraft, we encourage you to read the proposed regulations and to submit public comment before January 5, 2018. More information can be found here
 
Comments can be sent to: fax 907-269-0489 or StatewideAviation@alaska.gov
Or mail to:
Rich Sewell, Aviation Policy Planner
Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities
P.O. Box 196900
Anchorage, AK  99519
 
SB 54 Signed into Law
On Sunday November 26th Governor Walker signed Senate Bill 54 into law, with the bill effective immediately. Senate Bill 54 made some changes to the SB 91 criminal sentencing laws, most notably the felony theft threshold was reduced to $750 from $1000 and first time Class C felonies now carry a 0-2 year sentencing range. For a chart of the changes SB54 makes to SB91 click here.  An amendment added on the house floor raised some constitutional issues, and could put the tougher penalties for C felonies into jeopardy. Governor Walker decided not to wait for the legislature to reconvene to fix this unintended consequence. Director Skidmore released a Department of Law opinion that courts should be able to provide an appropriate sentencing range within the statute for both B and C felonies, without the statute being found unconstitutional.  Read the Department of Law review of SB54 here.
 
With SB54 signed into law, the Alaska Court System is focusing on implementing new bail assessments and pre-trial services; SB91 provisions that go into effect next year.  Starting January 1, 2018, those currently incarcerated in a pre-trial facility awaiting trial will no longer have their release based on their ability to pay bail. Release will be based on results of a risk assessment and the offense. Risk assessment calculates a defendant’s risk of failure to appear and of a new arrest. Supervision will be based on risk level of defendants, and there will be restrictions on use of third-party custodians. Read the Alaska Criminal Justice Commission Report on pre-trial changes here.  Recently the Alaska Court System held two meetings for interested parties in Anchorage to explain the changes in bail and the pretrial services division, as well as changes SB54 has made and how all these are being implemented. The new DOC Pretrial Services Division website will be updated with more information soon.
 
In case you missed it, click here for a link to my interview on
KSRM Sound Off a few weeks ago.

 
Upcoming Events:
 
Kenai/Soldotna office appointments Dec. 5:  I’ll be in the Kenai LIO on Tuesday, Dec. 5 from 10a-12pm.  If you would like to meet with me to discuss any issue, please contact my staff on the Kenai phone 283-9170 to arrange an appointment.
 
Update on AKLNG Project: public hearing tonight 6pm Dec. 4
On November 9 the State of Alaska and the Alaska Gasline Development Corporation entered into a Joint Development Agreement with China Petrochemical Corporation (SINOPEC), CIC Capital Corporation and the Bank of China Limited to explore the feasibility for investment in Alaska LNG. The House Resources committee is holding a hearing tonight at 6pm to provide an update on the status of the Alaska LNG Project.  The public is invited to attend in-person or to listen via the Alaska Legislature’s website: www.akleg.gov or live stream http://akl.tv   For more information (907) 269-0144 or (907) 269-0265.
 
Coffee Table:  I will be on the Coffee Table radio show Wednesday, Dec. 6 from 9-10am. Please tune in to KBBI AM890!
 
KPB Assembly Meeting:  I will be providing a brief update to the assembly during public comment at their Dec. 5 meeting starting at 6pm. You can tune in to KBBI and KDLL to listen.
 
Homer City Council:  I will be presenting a legislative update to the council at their Dec. 11 meeting starting at 6pm.  You can tune in to KBBI to listen.
 
Bits & Pieces:

Christmas Tree Cutting

The Kenai National Wildlife Refuge will open for Christmas tree cutting from Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, November 23, 2017, through Christmas Day, Monday, December 25, 2017. Trees are free for personal use with a limit of one per household, and may not be taller than 20 feet. Trees may be taken anywhere on the Refuge with hand tools, except within 150 feet of a road, lake, stream, trail, campground, or picnic area.  For additional information:   (907) 262-7021.
 
Public Comment: The Board of Marine Pilots
Proposes to update regulations regarding initial tonnage limit for deputy marine pilots.  Deadline to comment: 5:00 p.m. on December 18, 2017
Send comments to:  RegulationsAndPublicComment@alaska.gov
Questions: (907) 465-2537
 
Public Comment: Alaska Student Loan Corporation
Proposes to amend and repeal regulations dealing with applicant eligibility including the following: (1) regarding state residency requirements at the time of application will be repealed. This change would allow applicants to utilize cosigners who are not state residents. (2) dealing with an applicant’s employment or ability to document a long-term source of income will be repealed.  (3) include a provision for the commission to request additional documentation to determine the borrower’s ability to repay the loan obligation.
Deadline to comment: 4:30 p.m. on December 28, 2017
Send comments to: EED.ACPE-ExecDirector@Alaska.gov
Questions: (907) 465-6692
 
Public Comment:  Dept. of Education
Proposes the following updates: 1) Revise the Participation Guidelines for Alaska Students in the State Assessments, 2) repeal regulations that mandated college and career readiness assessments, and 3) clarify which holders of a certificate of achievement are eligible for a high school diploma.  Also being proposed are changes to the following: Provides additional options for teachers to satisfy teacher certification requirements by: 1) adding the GRE to the list of approved competency exams, and 2) adding additional exams to the approved content exams for teacher certification.  Deadline to comment:  December 7, 2017, by audio-conference at State Board of Education meeting. Oral comments can be given during the hearing held from 2:10 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. Participate at your local Legislative Information Office or by calling 1-844-586-9085 if you are outside of Juneau or Anchorage. Call your local LIO for more information.
 

Rep. Paul Seaton

Thanks for signing up for my newsletter and engaging in the public process. I try to keep you abreast of issues, bills, and other state and District 31 events where YOU have an opportunity to participate.

 

Contact Us

If you would like to speak to me regarding a specific issue, it is helpful to first get in touch with the member of my staff handling related issues. 

Homer: May-December
270 W. Pioneer Ave., Homer AK 99603
907-235-2921 or 1-800-665-2689; Fax: 907-235-4008

Juneau: January-April
State Capitol – 120 4th St., Juneau, AK 99801
New location: Room 505
907-465-2689 or 1-800-665-2689

Kenai: 907-283-9170 (will transfer automatically to Homer or Juneau)

Rep. Paul Seaton Rep.Paul.Seaton@akleg.gov
website:  http://akhouse.org/rep_seaton/

Jenny Martin Jenny.Martin@akleg.gov
Constituent issues and questions, General Capital & Operating Budget information,CAPSIS requests, Personal Legislation

Elizabeth Diament Elizabeth.Diament@akleg.gov
Legislation & Sustainable Fiscal Plans in House Finance, Personal Legislation

Arnold Liebelt Arnold.Liebelt@akleg.gov
Operating Budget, Finance Subcommittees

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