Capitol Live: House approves fast-tracked funding for disaster relief

Capitol Live: House approves fast-tracked funding for disaster relief

Live updates from the Capitol.

1:10 p.m.

Sen. Elvi Gray-Jackson, D-Anchorage, weighs in on Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s Koch Brothers-backed speeches around the state:

— Alex McCarthy

1:05 p.m.

Sen. Donny Olson, D-Golovin, introduced a bill that would establish March 12 as Ashley Johnson-Barr Day in honor of the Kotzebue girl who died last September in a suspected murder.

“People across the state wore purple on March 12, which would have been Ashley Johnson-Barr’s 11th birthday to celebrate her life,” Olson said in a release. “Continuing that tradition and remembering her is one way we can bring attention to child safety, community involvement, and solidarity.”

That bill, Senate Bill 101, was referred to the Senate State Affairs Committee.

— Alex McCarthy

11:10 a.m.

The bill passes 32-0. Eight members are excused today.

— Mollie Barnes

11 a.m.

The House is in a floor session. They’re about to do a third reading of SB 38, the bill the Senate passed earlier this session approving emergency funds for the Southcentral earthquake.

Read more about that here.

“These funds will be used for infrastructure repair and to aid lost income,” Rep. Neal Foster says.

Rep. David Eastman has some concerns that he says were brought up in committee.

“We are sending a rather large amount of money to our disaster relief fund… we seem to be increasing the average amount of that fund. I hope we’re not anticipating any additional 7.1 earthquakes in the very near future,” Eastman says.

He says some of his constituents say they would rather have the legislature pay out the dividend rather than put funds in an account that might not be used.

Rep. Tammie Wilson says the fund is not just for earthquakes and that the fund is at the lowest it’s ever been.

“It may seem like a large amount, but we’ve had a lot of disasters the last few years. We want to make sure we’re ready to take care of those issues,” Wilson says.

— Mollie Barnes

9:50 a.m.

In a meeting with media members this morning, Sen. Gary Stevens, R-Kodiak, said he’s seeing a “sea change” in the way his constituents view the Permanent Fund Dividend.

“When we came down here, people said, ‘Three thousand dollars? Of course I’d like $3,000,’ but as I’ve gone back home, people have realized, ‘What’s it going to cost me? Am I going to lose education, the university?’ The whole system we have, the majority of my district are beginning to say, ‘Let’s be serious about this and let’s find some compromise.’ I think we’re seeing a big change in the public’s point of view.”

— Alex McCarthy

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