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First Session of 30th Alaska State Legislature

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Alaska State Legislature, House District 31

From the Desk of Representative Seaton:
July 10, 2017  Vol. 234
 
  Greetings on this the 25th day of the second special session. We had a sunny Independence Day last week in Anchor Point and Homer and lots of people turned out to watch the parades.  I was also pleased to be on the Coffee Table last Wednesday to discuss items such as the budget and oil and gas reform.  These are complicated topics but ones that are important to all Alaskans; I hope listeners found the discussion informative.
 
On Friday Senator Lisa Murkowski held two meetings in Homer.  The majority of the discussion in the City Council chamber focused on health care and concerns with the bill that is currently in the US Senate, but constituents also asked questions about maintaining strong environmental protections for any Cook Inlet drilling and about US deals with Middle East countries.
 
The Senate is talking about holding a floor session in Juneau.  The only item on the call is HB 111, the oil and gas tax credit bill.  As I mentioned in the last newsletter, the Senate wants to pass their version of the bill to end cashable credits by replacing them with future tax deductions, but the House Majority Coalition is concerned that if we end the name of cash credits without reducing the actual cost to the state, then the job will not be done in a meaningful way.  On Thursday the House Majority held a press availability to explain these concerns. 
 
The House Majority Coalition proposed a compromise and is willing to end cash credits now if the Senate is willing to do so without replacing them as a costly new incentive program with future tax deductions.  That would give us time with our newly hired consultants to determine the right replacement value, instead of committing the state to pay the full liability down the road.  We are also willing to end this special session with the creation of a bipartisan working group to work with our consultants and come back in the fall with recommendations to simplify our tax structure and place an appropriate value on the expenses companies are trying to write off. 
 
The capital budget and other elements of the fiscal plan remain to be addressed.  The governor could add them to the call, but there are only 5 days left in this special session.  He could also call the legislature back into special session immediately following our adjournment.  Or he could issue a call for a special session at a later date, likely in the fall.  I don’t think a continued or an immediate special session would be productive.  A month or so out of session will give legislators time to consult with their constituents, experts, and others, which could lead to better policy.

The State of Alaska has received the letter from the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity requesting voter data.  I will be sending a letter to the Division of Elections asking them to keep state legislators aware of all steps taken in regards to President Trump’s request.  According to the Lt. Governor’s press release, state law allows only some information to be public.  Confidential information will not be released.  Click here for a list of what information is considered public vs. confidential.  All publicly available voter data has been and will continue to be available for purchase as a data file by anyone.  If you have concerns with the state sharing this information, contact the Division of Elections at 866-952-8683 elections@alaska.gov  or the Lt. Governor’s office at 907-465-3520 or click here to send an email
 
I enjoyed seeing many of you in the Anchor Point and Homer July 4th parades!  It was wonderful to have my wife Tina, daughter Tawny and granddaughter Hazel join me down the parade route.
 
Homer Grand Marshalls, Rita Jo and Leroy Shoultz of Alaska Perfect Peony, arrived in grand style to the parade.
 
The capital budget and other elements of the fiscal plan remain to be addressed.  The governor could add them to the call, but there are only 5 days left in this special session.  He could also call the legislature back into special session immediately following our adjournment.  Or he could issue a call for a special session at a later date, likely in the fall.  I don’t think a continued or an immediate special session would be productive.  A month or so out of session will give legislators time to consult with their constituents, experts, and others, which could lead to better policy.
 
The State of Alaska has received the letter from the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity requesting voter data.  I will be sending a letter to the Division of Elections asking them to keep state legislators aware of all steps taken in regards to President Trump’s request.  The Governor noted in his press conference today that a lawsuit (in the Lower 48) has been filed against the commission.  The state has been asked to withhold from responding to the request until the lawsuit is resolved.  According to the Lt. Governor’s press release, state law allows only some information to be public.  Confidential information will not be released.  Click here for a list of what information is considered public vs. confidential.  All publicly available voter data has been and will continue to be available for purchase as a data file by anyone.  If you have concerns with the state sharing this information, contact the Division of Elections at 866-952-8683 elections@alaska.gov  or the Lt. Governor’s office at 907-465-3520 or click here to send an email
 
Several constituents have contacted me regarding the negative impacts caused by the Tustumena’s delay into service this summer and questions about a replacement ferry in the future.  The Tustumena is expected to go back into service on August 15.  You can read more about the delays in this press release here. For more information you can call the Homer terminal 907-235-8449 or the AMHS central reservations office at 1-800-642-0066.  Funding to replace the Tustumena is currently in the FY18 capital budget ($222 million federal, $22 million state).  The Department of Transportation stated this is their estimated total construction costs to build a replacement ferry based on the vessel design that was provided by a consultant.  If the project can go out to bid in 2017, the new ferry could start service as early as the fall of 2020 or spring of 2021, depending on which shipyard wins the contract and any unforeseen construction delays.
 

Rep. Paul Seaton

Thanks for signing up for my newsletter and engaging in the public process. I try every week to keep you abreast of issues and bills discussed at the committee level, where YOU have an opportunity to participate.

 

 
Bits & Pieces

Public Comment: Cook Inlet Regional Citizens Advisory Council (CIRCAC) Recertification.
The US Coast Guard is accepting public comments on the recertification of the Cook Inlet Regional Citizens Advisory Council through July 31.  Comment online or by mail.  For more information call 907.283.7222 or visit www.circac.org.
 
Public Comment: changes to Oil & Gas Exploration, Production & Pipeline Transportation Property Tax regulations.
Dept. of Revenue is proposing changes to regulations regarding the department’s depreciation methodology for property taxes for Oil & Gas property.  Deadline to comment:  4:30pm July 31, 2017.  Send comments to: john.larsen@alaska.gov
 
Public Comment: changes to Community Assistance program due to SB210 (2016)
Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development proposes to amend the community assistance payment program in order to comply with the changes made by Alaska Legislature in 2016, SB210, to the former community revenue sharing program, to streamline and expedite distribution of the community assistance payment, and to add new recordkeeping requirements related to receipts and expenditure of community assistance payments.  Deadline to comment: 4:30pm July 31, 2017.  Send comments to: iura.leahu@alaska.gov
 
ACPE: Option for Student Loan Refinancing
The Alaska Commission on Postsecondary Education (ACPE) announced an opportunity for qualified borrowers to refinance their student loans.  The Alaska Refinance rate is 4.95%.  Click above link for more info.
 

Click here to listen to my interview on KBBI’s Coffee Table last Wednesday.  I had the opportunity to answer questions about oil and gas tax credits, education funding, the budget, and many other areas.
 

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; fax: 907-465-3472

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

Taneeka Hansen Taneeka.Hansen@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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Rep. Seaton's Session Contact Information:
 

Mailing Address:
State Capitol - 120 4th Street,
Juneau, Alaska 99801
Phone: (907) 465-2689
Toll-free: 1-800-665-2689
email: Rep.Paul.Seaton@akleg.gov

http://akhouse.org/rep_seaton/

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