The Alaska Legislature’s preseason has begun with 24 House bills and seven Senate bills released in the first round of prefiled legislation.
Prefiling is the annual process by which legislators introduce bills before the session begins, and along with the cardboard moving boxes now starting to arrive in the capitol, it’s a sure sign of session’s approach. A second batch of prefiled bills will be released Jan. 15. The 29th Legislature opens its second regular session Jan. 19.
• HB 213, Rep. Cathy Tilton, R-Wasilla — If the state preserves an area to protect its scenic value, the Department of Natural Resources has to explain why in writing.
• HB 214, Rep. Kurt Olson, R-Soldotna — Eliminates the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Commission by merging its duties into the state’s Workers’ Compensation Board.
• HB 215, Rep. Scott Kawasaki, D-Fairbanks — Doctors and others can prescribe experimental medicine to terminally ill people without fear of a lawsuit if something goes wrong.
• HB 216, Rep. Dave Talerico, R-Healy — The federal government can’t prevent Alaskans from using state waterways for transport.
• HB 217, Rep. Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins, D-Sitka — The Alaska State Council on the Arts will hold a design competition every four years for a new license plate; those new license plates are $50 instead of $150.
• HB 218, Rep. Bob Lynn, R-Anchorage — People can’t get married at prisons, and inmates can’t get conjugal visits.
• HB 219, Rep. Mike Hawker, R-Anchorage — If Medicaid Expansion doesn’t reach a savings benchmark (at least 90 percent of predicted savings) or a customer benchmark (enrollees are more than 110 percent of estimates) it would automatically end expansion.
• HB 220, Rep. Talerico — Creates a “fisheries enhancement permit” for fish hatcheries and others who improve fish habitat.
• HB 221, Rep. Bryce Edgmon, D-Dillingham — A person can be found guilty of violating a protective order issued in another state and recognized by Alaska.
• HB 222, Rep. Hawker — If the state gets more money from the federal government for a particular program, the Legislature can prohibit the state from spending that money. (Right now, the governor has to consult the Legislature if that happens, but if they say no, he just has to wait 45 days before spending it.)
• HB 223, Rep. Sam Kito III, D-Juneau — The Legislature can stay in regular session for up to 120 days instead of 90.
• HB 224, Rep. Hawker — To balance the state’s budget, government should look first to using Permanent Fund earnings rather than some kind of tax; this caps Permanent Fund dividends as part of a plan to make that happen.
• HB 225, Rep. Gabrielle LeDoux, R-Anchorage — Drivers getting a license for the first time have to display a sticker on their car that says they’re a new driver.
• HB 226, Rep. Hawker — The Alaska Commission on Aging can keep operating through 2024.
• HB 227, Rep. Paul Seaton, R-Homer — Alaska Health and Social Services department needs to take steps to reduce health care costs.
• HB 228, Rep. Jim Colver, R-Palmer — A bridge on the Glenn Highway is named the Nels Hitchcock Bridge.
• HB 229, Rep. Mike Chenault, R-Nikiski — Gets rid of the Administrative Regulation Review Committee.
• HB 230, Rep. Colver — Renames a pipeline road at the site of Arctic Man to Arctic Man Way.
• HB 231, Rep. Lynn — The parole board can continue working through 2022.
• HB 232, Rep. Colver — Gets rid of the state’s new standardized testing system.
• HB 233, Rep. Andy Josephson, D-Anchorage — Creates an Alaska Climate Change Commission to provide advice on a statewide climate change strategy.
• HB 234, Rep. Liz Vazquez, R-Anchorage — Anyone offering health care insurance in Alaska with mental health coverage has to cover telemedicine treatment for mental health.
• HB 235, Rep. Kito — Vending machines can sell raffle tickets.
• HB 236, Rep. Talerico — Anyone who doesn’t want to solemnize a marriage (i.e. a priest, rabbi or minister) or provide supplies for a wedding doesn’t have to, and anyone who chooses not to solemnize a marriage can’t be held civilly or criminally liable.
• SB 118, Sen. Mia Costello, R-Anchorage — If the state requests to review the survey of a plot of state land earmarked for lease or sale, the person leasing or buying the land can request that the State Board of Registration for Architects, Engineers and Land Surveyors review it (for a fee) rather than the state itself in order to get an independent look.
• SB 119, Sen. Peter Micciche, R-Soldotna — Eliminates the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Commission by merging its duties into the state’s Workers’ Compensation Board.
• SB 120, Sen. Micciche — Anyone who doesn’t want to solemnize a marriage or provide supplies for a wedding doesn’t have to, and anyone who chooses not to solemnize a marriage can’t be held civilly or criminally liabile.
• SB 121, Sen. Kevin Meyer, R-Anchorage — A parent or legal guardian can request a freeze on the release of a child’s credit score and credit information.
• SB 122, Sen. Johnny Ellis, D-Anchorage — Alaska’s minimum wage is $15 per hour starting Jan. 1, 2017.
• SB 123, Sen. Meyer — Texting while driving is a violation, not a misdemeanor, unless you hurt or kill someone while you’re doing it, in which case it’s a felony.
• SB 124, Sen. Bill Stoltze, R-Chugiak — The Alaska Commission on Aging can continue to work through 2024.