Pomp and Circumstance has stopped playing as the graduation season has ended. Occasionally, I still hear a few measures rattling around in my brain so that only leads to the notion that I also have a few musings about graduation to mutter.
Since the usual tradition of me writing about graduation was forgone this year due to a choice to focus solely on my own son’s graduation (way to go Ian R. Armstrong, you are rocking awesome!), I guess instead of featuring the accomplishments of this year’s crop of seniors, I get to make a few comments.
As the Legislature nears the end of the constitutional 120-day session, I am gravely concerned about the possible outcome.
Our state is in a difficult fiscal position. Due mainly to world oil prices and our over-dependence on oil, we have only about one-fifth of the revenue we need to balance the budget. And that’s after several years of budget cuts and almost no capital investment.
Government's most important mandate is public safety. Over the last 20 years, government in Alaska made a decision to hold criminal offenders accountable for their crimes by creating meaningful prison sentences, thus crime rates have dropped by 42 percent. If we still had the same levels of crime as we had in 1995, an additional 15,000 Alaskans would be crime victims every single year. When we look back at that strong record of success, we need to be certain that any changes we make to the criminal justice system will improve the lives and safety of law-abiding Alaskans.
April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. It gives us all the opportunity to show our support to survivors of sexual violence, and become part of the broader change we know needs to happen to reduce the epidemic of sexual assault and abuse in our state.
Juneau) -- While public interest in Alaska politics may focus on budgets, tax bills and fiscal gaps, the state Legislature has passed bills that attract less attention, but still improve life for thousands of Alaskans.
One of these is my House Bill 188, “The ABLE Account Act,” which has passed the House and Senate unanimously, and is awaiting the governor’s signature to become law.
One way or another, Alaskans will be taxed. The Legislature should decide how much.
On Wednesday, the Senate voted 17-3 to approve Senate Bill 210, which would significantly reduce state funding provided to Alaska’s larger cities. It’s a move intended to reduce the state’s $4 billion budget deficit, but it does nothing but push taxes from the state level to the local level.
It's unfortunate that legislation like Senate Bill 174 even needs to be debated. In a perfect world, there would be no threat of violence at institutions of higher learning. But the times we live in require unorthodox solutions to curb the trend of mass shootings on university campuses.
SB 174, which would allow for the concealed carry of firearms and knives on University of Alaska campuses, isn't a perfect solution, but it's a better solution than doing nothing.