In this Jan. 19 photo, Rep. Justin Parish, D-Juneau, speaks at a joint meeting of the Juneau Legislative Delegation and the City and Borough of Juneau Assembly. (Alex McCarthy | Juneau Empire)

In this Jan. 19 photo, Rep. Justin Parish, D-Juneau, speaks at a joint meeting of the Juneau Legislative Delegation and the City and Borough of Juneau Assembly. (Alex McCarthy | Juneau Empire)

Parish education bill suffers setback

Rep. Justin Parish, D-Juneau, has suffered a setback in his attempt to pass legislation affecting Alaska’s public school trust fund.

In a procedural move Monday, the Parish-sponsored House Bill 213 was returned to the House Rules Committee, in effect a step backward for Parish’s effort, which had been awaiting a vote of the full House of Representatives. Before Friday’s floor session, Parish said he did not have the 21 votes necessary to pass the proposal, and he appeared to lack the votes again Monday.

If passed by the House and Senate, then signed by Gov. Bill Walker,HB 213 would change how the trust fund is invested and spent. The Alaska Legislature would be allowed to spend up to 4.75 percent of the average value of the fund over the past five years. The idea behind the proposal is similar to one being considered for the Alaska Permanent Fund, but the trust fund’s balance is far lower than that of the Permanent Fund.

The idea behind the bill is to create a small but steady income for public schools.

Counselors board extension

The House deferred votes until Wednesday on two other bills but did vote 37-0 to approve an extension to the Board of Professional Counselors.

House Bill 302, which advances to the Senate for consideration, renews the board’s operations until 2026. The state has dozens of boards overseeing regulations for various professions, and each board must be renewed on a regular basis by the Legislature, which is intended to provide oversight of the boards’ operations.

Senator sworn in

In the Alaska Senate on Monday, lawmakers welcomed Sen. Mike Shower, R-Wasilla. Shower replaces Mike Dunleavy, who resigned the day before the start of the session in order to concentrate on his run for governor. Shower’s arrival brings the Senate to its full 20-member contingent.

The House, meanwhile, has one vacant seat as lawmakers there await the arrival of Tiffany Zulkosky, who will replace Zach Fansler as the representative for House District 38, which covers Bethel and portions of Southwest Alaska.


• Contact reporter James Brooks at jbrooks@juneauempire.com or call 523-2258.


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