Advocacy/Legislative Update 11.20.20

PCE and Rural Alaska is in the hands of new lawmaker

With the election results settled pending recounts, the question now becomes just how a divided House might organize.  This is particularly important to Tanana Chiefs Conference as rural Alaska is in the crosshairs of the majority of Alaskan Republicans due to their insistence of using the PCE endowment to pay out a full PFD among other things. Rep.-elect Josiah Aullaqsruaq Patkotak, from Utqiagvik, won his election as an independent candidate but with the financial backing of oil companies and a handful of Republican operatives, and was seen as by many as the 21st member of an all Republican majority.  However, Patkotak has made it clear that he will preserve the PCE and other rural priorities.  If Republicans were to give into Patkotak’s requests to defend both property taxes and the power cost equalization program (a difficult-to-keep promise given Republicans’ refusal to abide by a binding agreement), it would greatly limit their options when it comes to the budget and push them into less-than-palatable discussions of further service cuts or new revenues.  Story here.

A New Way of choosing our leaders – Ballot Measure 2 passes

Ballot Measure 2, which was supported by Tanana Chiefs Conference, passed by a close vote. The measure will introduce primaries that are open to candidates with any or no political parties. The top four finishers will advance to the general elections, in which voters will be able to rank their choices. Candidates will win if they receive a majority of the first-preference votes. If none receives a majority on the first count, the votes for trailing candidates will be redistributed until a candidate receives a majority, or all ballots are exhausted. Story here.

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