Monday, May 29, 2006

Governor Murkowski poses for a picture with my legislative aide, Karen Lidster, and me after the governor signed HB 133 Saturday morning in Fairbanks. I have been working on this legislation for two years to eliminate aggregate votes that dilute the vote of a citizen living in an area an existing municipality wants to annex. Below is the press release issued by the Governor's Office.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 27, 2006 No. 06-091
John Manly, Press Spokesman

Governor Signs HB 133 – Borough Incorporation and Annexation Bill

(Juneau) — Governor Frank H. Murkowski has signed into law HB 133, which makes changes in the way the Local Boundary Commission processes municipal incorporations, annexations, detachments, mergers, consolidations, reclassifications, and dissolutions.

The bill, sponsored by North Pole Representative John Coghill, also protects the voters’ right to incorporate, outline the boundaries of their municipality, and select the level of service they want. It also limits the ability of the LBC to impose conditions on an incorporation without an appropriate public process.

“This bill cleans up the process local citizens use to define their own community,� Murkowski said. “It is essentially about maintaining local control and putting appropriate sideboards on the Local Boundary Commission to make sure their processes do not usurp or conflict with the direction the communities want to go.�

Friday, May 12, 2006


End of session means lots of bills going into the limbo file. First thing in the morning on the last day of session, I went over the bills in the Limbo File with Jared Seay. The Limbo File holds House bills that have been amended in the Senate. As Majority Leader, it is my job to bring the bills out for a floor vote to concur or return the bills to the Senate asking them to recede from their action.

Speaker John Harris and I had something in common the last few days of session. Our glasses needed some repairs. I hobbled through one day toward the end of session trying to make my motions on the floor without glasses. Boy it's tough getting old!

Representative Nancy Dahlstrom takes a breaks and visits with Grayson David McGuire Anderson who is already two months old! Can you believe that?

These people were helpful in getting HB 426 passed. HB 426 allows the state to recover medical expenses paid by Medicaid that have third party payors, requires a parent or guardian to apply for Medicaid, and requires people who qualify for Medicare to apply before qualifying for Medicaid. This will save the state over $20 million a year. I will be taking another look at ways to save Medicaid costs over the interim. From left to right: Paul Lisankie, Director, Div of Workers' Compensation; Kris Knaus, Liberty Insurance; Paula Scavera, Dept of Labor; Linda Hall, Director, Division of Insurance, and Charlie Miller, lobbyist for several insurance interests in the state.

Here I am answering questions from the press. They ambushed me outside the Speaker's Office as I came out of the House Chambers.

Representative Jay Ramras gets interviewed by Bill McAllister for the Anchorage 5 o'clock news. He was asking Representative Ramras about his meth legislation which passed on May 5th after both houses adopted the conference committee report.

Robert Dillion from the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner was a regular in my office this session. He diligently tried to stay on top of the issues and report them back to the people of Fairbanks and North Pole.

Joe Balash, Chief of Staff for Senator Therriault, and Tom Wright, Chief of Staff for Speaker John Harris discuss the last few days of sesson.

Here's one of the longest sitting legislators, Representative Richard Foster from Nome. His father was a legislator too.

Here's my chief of staff, Rynnieva Moss, watching Richard Foster roasting Mike Kelly for his birthday from the Speaker's Chambers.

Representative Coghill's Native Allotment Resolution Passes

I was recently presented with clock engraved with the inscription "In Gratitutde for Your Work and Dedicated Commitment on Behalf of Alaska Native Vietnam Veterans". I was presented the clock and a medal from the Alaska Native Veterans Southeast for my sponsorship of House Joint Resolution 27, which asks Congress to extend the application period for native allotments to Vietnam Veterans. Presenters included Ed Thomas, Carol Yeatman, and Representative Bill Thomas.

Representative Bill Thomas and I are both veterans of the Vietnam War era. I was statitoned in England and Rep. Thomas served in Vietnam.

I want to especially thank Carol Yeatman. Carol has been working on this project for a long time. She works for Alaska Legal Services Corporation and was the word master of HJR 27.

Here I am thanking the group of native veterans for their help with HJR 27. The resolution will now be sent to select members of Congress and the Bush Administration.