Advocacy/Legislative Update 1.13.20

Time to Collect More Signatures

An Alaskan Superior Court Judge has ruled that the Recall Dunleavy campaign can start the second signature gathering phase.  The effort has led to a court challenge after the Division of Elections decided that the group did not have a meritorious reason to try and kick the Gov out.  Judge Aarseth disagreed with the state and has ordered them to print signature booklets.  The state will appeal to the state Supreme Court, but signature gathering will continue while that is pending.

Remember that this round of signatures is different.  If you signed before, you have to sign again and bring a friend.  Story here.

Impeachment to Finally Reach the Senate 

The Senate braces today to receive the two articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump, which House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is expected to send over this week after some delay.  The hand-off will launch a weeks-long spectacle in the Senate that will almost certainly result in Trump’s acquittal. But on Sunday, Pelosi once again hedged on questions of timing, declining to say when House Democrat would take next steps to name their team of “managers” who will prosecute Trump in the trial.  If the House sends its slate of impeachment managers to the Senate on Tuesday, it would trigger the trial the following day, once again catapulting Trump’s conduct in Ukraine to the national stage.  This time, it will happen just as Democratic presidential contenders, including several sitting members of the Senate, make their final push ahead of the Iowa caucuses.  We are still waiting to learn the exact procedures that Senate Majority Leader McConnell (R-KY) will conduct the trial under. 

Juneau is ready to get crackin’

The first batch of pre-filed legislation for the Second Regular Session of the 31st Legislature was released yesterday. Highlights include legislation addressing Mental Health Education in Schools, Sexual Assault Examination Kits, API, Restrict Out-of-State Corrections, Notice of CINA Placement, Employer Child Care Tax Credits, Oil & Gas Production Tax Credits, Add Faculty to the UA Board of Regents, Medicaid Coverage of Licensed Counselors, and State-Tribal Education Compacts. Click through here.

Also looking to make some statutory changes, the VPSO Working Group rolled out its draft recommendations report; HERE (audio – 1hr 17min) ; draft VPSO Working Group recommendations document HERE. The group discussed nine short- and long-term recommendations aimed at improving the VPSO program. In summary: 1) Update the VPSO statute to clarify its mission, 2) Create more financial flexibility, 3) Restore funding to FY18 levels, 4) Repeal unfunded mandates, 5) Pay indirect costs, 6) Department of Commerce to manage grants, 7) DPS maintain training, 8) Create formal agreements with tribal groups, and 9) Put regulations in statute.  Tanana Chiefs Conference has been in the mix for these recommendations and looks forward to moving legislation.

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