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Dear Friends and Neighbors,
At 117 days, the Second Regular Session of the 30th Legislature adjourned Sine Die after passing a marathon number of bills, including many bills that were rolled into other bills. While we didn’t get everything we wanted – such as a durable fiscal plan that includes a broad-based revenue measure, appropriate funding for education included in the BSA so it is not a fight every year, pay increases for state troopers to help with retention, and restoration of a full PFD – a lot of good things did happen:
There was also some personal legislation that did not make it through:
I am disappointed that this legislation wasn’t able to move forward. In the Senate, it did not receive a single hearing. In the House, it became stalled in its first committee of referral. While it is rare, children can marry at the age of 14 in our state with judicial approval. I think it is past time to address this issue to protect our children from this fate.
Efforts to add protection from discrimination in housing, banking and employment based on one’s sexual orientation or gender identification have been made since the 27th Alaska Legislature. This year, the House companion to legislation I sponsored went the farthest a bill seeking to address that issue has ever gone. It still could not make it over the finish line. I recognize that progress can take time and I continue to hold out hope for this effort to pass in the future.
In the end – there was a strong effort on all sides to work and come together on the issues on which we could agree – and to find and reach compromise where we couldn’t.
I want to take a moment to say thank you to all of the wonderfully kind comments I’ve been receiving through Facebook, email, and written cards, regarding my service and retirement. I can’t stress enough how much I have enjoyed this job and the privilege of serving you. Although I have now finished my last legislative session, I will remain in office until January, and I look forward to continuing to serve our district until then.
I’m Berta and I’m still listening.
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