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ANCHORAGE – Governor Bill Walker applauded the Alaska Legislature Thursday for passing a fully funded FY 2016 budget, and for passing the Alaska Safe Children’s Act. The move comes after months of negotiations between both legislative bodies, and ends the possibility of a partial government shutdown.
“I commend the legislature for coming together to make an agreement on the budget,” said Governor Walker. “The state employs over 15,000 hard working men and women, and provides essential services to each and every Alaskan. Now that a budget has been passed, we can all get back to work and not worry about the harmful impacts of a potential government shutdown.”
Passed Thursday afternoon by both the House and Senate, HB 2001 provides funding to the state operating budget for the coming year. Governor Walker said he was pleased with the compromises that were made in the bill, and that this would allow lawmakers to focus more on the state’s larger fiscal challenges in the year ahead.
“Alaska is facing a $3.5 billion budget deficit, and I’m ready to roll up my sleeves and get to work on that,” said Governor Walker. “We need all hands on deck to fill that gap. Now that the budget negotiations are out of the way, I look forward to working with the legislature to continue this important conversation.”
Also passed Thursday was the Alaska Safe Children’s Act, HB 44, which provides child sexual assault and teen dating violence prevention curriculum to elementary and high schools. A combination of Erin’s Law and Bree’s law, the bill works to arm Alaska’s children with the knowledge to speak up when they are the victims of abuse.
“I am pleased that the legislature set aside their political differences to pass this important piece of legislation,” said Governor Walker. “Thousands of Alaskans are rejoicing this evening for the future safety of our children.”