Feature Alaska Article Archive
Early Summer 2000

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FAITH TO ENDURE - REP. VIC KOHRING
WHAT ABOUT A GAS CAP? - DALE LUTHER
REPORT TO THE PEOPLE - SEN. RANDY PHILLIPS
YOU KNOW YOU'RE FROM ALASKA WHEN... - ANONYMOUS
DO THE MATH - JIM SYKES
SEN. FRANK MURKOWSKI ON ANWR - READ VIEW AND LISTEN to Sen. Murkowski's April 8 radio address on the need to open a small portion of the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve for oil exploration & development.
ALASKA LEGISLATURE VOTES OVERWHELMINGLY TO REJECT DOD DIRECTIVE PROHIBITING VOTING POLLS ON BASES - FREEDOM WRITER
REPUBLICAN MODERATE PARTY, INC - NEWSLETTER

Winter 2000 - Archive
Spring 2000 - Archive


Faith to Endure
By Rep. Vic Kohring
May 5, 2000

The job of a legislator is often difficult. The demands of special interest groups, lobbyists, cities and boroughs are challenging. The high volume of letters, E-mails, phone calls and public opinion messages requires a lot of attention. Helping constituents with a multitude of problems with governmental agencies consumes many hours. Most significant are major issues, such as the billion dollar deficit and how best to improve education, which invoke strong differences of opinion and even division between legislators and the public, all of which adds to the stress level.

What helps me to cope is my faith in God. As a public figure, I've never hesitated to proclaim my Christianity and am not ashamed of it. I regularly rely on prayer and reading the Bible to get me through the day's difficult challenges. For instance, I've been a target of my ideological opponents because of my efforts at cutting government spending and promoting the private-sector. Suggesting that much of government can be reduced and restructured and programs eliminated has caused some to rise in opposition and even threaten me. Campaigns of intimidation have been declared against me in the past by those who will stop at almost nothing to tear you down if you dare to get in their way.

Another example was my legislation to create an education voucher system to encourage private schooling and give parents the right to choose their child's education future, which once again caused my foes to attack me. I've been chastised and even accused of having views that are "perverted" by a group that hates my bill because it jeopardizes their government school monopoly. All of this, simply because of an honest disagreement of philosophy on how best to improve education. To make matters worse, this same group waged war against me in the newspapers with half-truths and falsehoods. It's not the first time that has happened with special interest groups. But they are storms I successfully endure because I'm able to draw on my faith when the going gets tough.

I harbor no negative feelings against those who consider me an adversary. In fact, I respect people with differences of opinion especially since everyone has that right under our constitution. I go out of my way to listen and be open to anyone's ideas on how best to do my job. I've also learned to pray for my opponents and not let the pressure they afflict effect my ability to do my job the best I can. I pray for myself too that I be given wisdom and strength to endure. Without it, I'm sure the stress would eat me alive.

I became a Christian in June 1965 at the age of six when, at Sunny Knik Bible Camp outside Wasilla, I accepted God into my life. It was a decision I've never regretted and one that has made me a better person and legislator over three decades later. My faith has given me a moral compass to guide me with my decision making and to effectively deal with the pressures and demands of life in politics.

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Vic Kohring, Alaska House District 26, Representative Kohring is a third term Republican, and serves Wasilla and Peters Creek in the Alaska State Legislature.

Phone: (800) 468-2186
E-Mail

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Cartoon by Dale Luther
Copyright ©2000 Dale Luther; All Rights Reserved.

Dale Luther is a freelance editorial cartoonist who is published in the Alaska Journal of Commerce and has also been published in Alaska Business Monthly and the Anchorage Daily News.

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Senator Randy Phillips
Report to the People

May 4, 2000


The Legislature adjourned its regular session on Wednesday, May 3. The following is a summary of some of the legislation that passed the Legislature during the session. A total of 141 bills and 24 resolutions passed the House and the Senate this session.

Senate Joint Resolution 27, "Proposing amendments to the Constitution of the State of Alaska relating to revisions of the state constitution and providing that a court may not change language of a proposed constitutional amendment or revision, passed the Senate by a vote of 14 - 5. These amendments would be on the next general election ballot and would ask voters to approve revisions as well as amendments to the Constitution by a two-thirds vote of the legislature. It would also provide that a court may not alter or change the legislature's language of the amendment or revision.

Senate Joint Resolution 34, Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the State of Alaska relating to public corporations, passed the Senate by a vote of 15 - 5, and is awaiting transmittal to the Governor. This resolution would place a question on the next general election ballot of whether to require the members of the governing entity of a public corporation, such as Alaska Housing Finance Corporation, the Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation, and the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority, appointed by the Governor to also be subject to legislative confirmation.

Senate Joint Resolution 38, expressing support for a cooperative United States feasibility study on extending the North American rail system through British Columbia and the Yukon Territory to Alaska, passed the Senate by a vote of 19 - 0. This resolution requests that a feasibility study be considered a priority for the U. S. and Canadian governments.

Senate Joint Resolution 39, Encouraging the United States Congress to pass S. 2214, a bill opening the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to responsible exploration, development, and production of its oil and gas resources, passed the Senate by a vote of 16 - 1. This resolution supports the above-referenced federal legislation, to encourage responsible oil exploration and development in ANWR.

House Joint Resolution 48, Relating to the free flow of people and the fair trade of goods and services across the border between the United States and Canada, passed the Senate by vote of 19 - 1, and is now Legislative Resolve 40. This resolution requests Congress to amend the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 to exempt Canadian citizens from the Act who enter at land border crossing stations between the U.S. and Canada.

House Joint Resolution 56, Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the State of Alaska prohibiting certain initiatives relating to wildlife, passed the Senate by a vote of 14 - 6, and is awaiting transmittal to the Governor. This resolution will place the question before the voters at the next general election of whether to prohibit wildlife ballot initiatives.

House Bill 312, An Act making and amending appropriations for the operating and loan program expenses of state government, for certain programs, and to capitalize funds, passed the Senate by a vote of 12 - 8. This is the state's operating budget, and represents a $30 million reduction in state spending for FY 2001.

Senate Bill 192, an Act making and amending capital appropriations and reappropriations and capitalizing funds, the state's capital budget for FY '01, passed the Senate by a vote of 15 - 5. This bill is awaiting transmittal to the Governor. The total amount of this year's capital budget is $1,251,770,000.

House Bill 18, An Act making a special appropriation in an amount not to exceed $250,000,000 from the Constitutional Budget Reserve earnings reserve account to the principal of the permanent fund, passed the Senate by a vote of 17 to 2. This bill appropriates $250 million to the principal of the permanent fund from the Constitutional Budget earnings reserve.

Senate Bill 4, An Act relating to victims' rights; relating to establishing an office of victims' rights; relating to compensation to victims of violent crimes; relating to eligibility for a permanent fund dividend for persons convicted of and incarcerated for certain offenses; relating to notice of appropriations concerning victims' rights, passed the Senate by a vote of 18 - 0. It is now awaiting transmittal to the governor.

House Bill 133, An Act relating to municipal service areas and providing for voter approval of the formation, alteration, or abolishment of certain service areas, passed the Senate by a vote of 18 - 2, and is now awaiting transmittal to the Governor for his signature. This bill requires voter approval before an abolishment of fire service areas such as Chugiak and the South Fork of Eagle River.

House Bill 192, An Act relating to reciting the pledge of allegiance by public school students, passed the Senate by a vote of 19 - 0 and was signed into law March 31, 2000. This bill requires that that public school students recite the pledge of allegiance, or observe a moment of silence, daily.

House Bill 361, An Act relating to charges for state services; requiring that fees levied by resource agencies for designated regulatory services be based on the actual and reasonable direct cost of providing the services, except in the case of certain negotiated and fixed fees, passed the Senate by a vote of 20 - 0 and has been transmitted to the Governor for his signature. This bill changes accounting requirements for fees charged by state agencies.

Senate Bill 281, an Act relating to missions and measures to be applied to certain expenditures by the executive branch of state government and the University of Alaska from the state operating budget for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2001, passed the Senate by a vote of 20 - 0, and is awaiting transmittal to the Governor for his signature. This bill defines performance measures for all the departments of state government.

House Bill 378, An Act relating to the establishment of, assessment of, collection of, and accounting for service fees for state administration of workers' compensation and workers' safety programs; establishing civil penalties and sanctions for late payment or nonpayment of the service fee, passed the Senate by a vote of 15 - 5, and is awaiting transmittal to the Governor. This bill enacts a user fee to be charged to self-insured employers as well as those who purchase workers' compensation insurance policies.

Senate Bill 236, an Act establishing Prisoners or War and Missing in Action Recognition Days and Women Veterans Day, passed the Senate by a vote of 17 - 0, and has been signed into law. This bill establishes April 9 of each year to recognize all prisoners or war. The third Friday in September each year would also be set aside to honor all prisoners of war and those missing in action. November 9 would be established as Women Veterans Day.

Senate Bill 268, an Act relating to mandatory 99-year terms of imprisonment for persons convicted of certain murders, passed the Senate by a vote of 20 - 0, and has been transmitted to the Governor for his signature. This bill would require a mandatory 99 year sentence for those who are convicted of first degree murder and personally caused the death of a person during a robbery.

Senate Bill 267, an Act relating to management of game, passed the Senate by a vote of 14 - 5, and has been signed into law. This law allows for taking wolves on the same day airborne in areas where the Board of Game is attempting to boost game populations.

Senate Bill 7, An Act relating to the University of Alaska and university land and authorizing the University of Alaska to select additional state land, passed the Senate by a vote of 15 - 5, and has been transmitted to the Governor for his signature. This bill allows the University of Alaska to select 250,000 acres of state land.

House Bill 368, An Act relating to release of persons before trial and before sentencing or service of sentence; relating to when service of sentence shall begin; relating to custodians of persons released, to security posted on behalf of persons released, and to the offense of violation of conditions of release, passed the Senate by a vote of 16 - 4, and is awaiting transmittal to the Governor. This bill makes it a Class "A" misdemeanor to violate the conditions of release from prison on a felony charge, and a Class "B" misdemeanor for violating conditions of release on a misdemeanor charge. It also allows judges to impose performance bonds.

House Bill 281, An Act relating to the financing of construction of public school facilities, facilities for the University of Alaska, and facilities for ports and harbors; authorizing the commissioner of revenue to sell the right to receive a portion of the anticipated revenue from a certain tobacco litigation settlement to the Alaska Housing Finance Corporation, passed the Senate by a vote of 13 - 7, and is now awaiting transmittal to the Governor. This bill authorizes reimbursement of Municipal school bonds ($105 million) at 70 percent and municipal harbor bonds ($28 million) at 100 percent. House Bill 287, the accompanying appropriation bill entitled "An Act making capital appropriations that are funded from the sale of revenue bonds that are issued by the Alaska Housing Finance Corporation," passed the Senate by a vote of 14 - 6, and appropriates $169 million from the proceeds from tobacco settlement and AHFC bonds.

House Bill 446, An Act relating to utility ownership and funding; relating to sales, leases, and dispositions of certain telephone cooperative property; establishing and relating to the power cost equalization endowment fund; relating to the power equalization and rural electric capitalization fund; relating to the Railbelt energy fund; authorizing and relating to the sale of the four dam pool hydroelectric project; establishing and relating to joint action agencies created to purchase power projects, passed the Senate by a vote of 17 - 3, and is now awaiting transmittal to the Governor.

If you have questions or comments on any issues, please don't hesitate to contact me. I can be reached at my Eagle River office after May 15. My address is: P.O. Box 142, Eagle River, Alaska 99577, and my e-mail address is Senator_Randy_Phillips@legis.state.ak.us. My Eagle River office telephone number is 694-4949.

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YOU KNOW YOU'RE FROM ALASKA WHEN...
By Anonymous

1. You design your Halloween costumes to fit over your Carharts.

2. The mosquitoes have landing lights.

3. You have more miles on your snow blower than your car.

4. You have 10 favorite recipes for moose.

5. TrueValue Hardware on any Saturday is busier than the toy stores at Christmas.

6. You live in a house that has no front steps, yet the door is one yard above the ground.

7. You've taken your kids trick-or-treating in a blizzard.

8. Driving is better in the winter because the potholes get filled with snow.

9. You think lingerie is tube socks and a flannel nightie.

10. You owe more money on your snowmachine than your car.

11. At least twice a year, the kitchen doubles as a meat processing Plant.

12. The most effective mosquito repellent is a shotgun.

13. Your snow blower gets stuck on the roof.

14. You think the start of moose hunting season is a national holiday.

15. You frequently clean grease off your barbecue so the bears won't prowl on your deck.

16. You know which leaves make good toilet paper.

17. The mayor greets you on the street by your first  name.

18. You find -20F a little chilly.

19. The trunk of your car doubles as a deep freezer.

20. You attended a formal event in your best clothes,  your finest jewelry and your bunny boots.

21. You can play road hockey on skates.

22. Shoveling the driveway constitutes a great upper body workout.

23. You know the 4 seasons: Winter, Still Winter, Almost Winter, and Construction.

24. The municipality buys a Zamboni before a bus.

25. You actually 'get' these jokes, and forward them to all your Alaskan friends.
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DO THE MATH
By Jim Sykes

You can’t add up all the contentious claims on both sides, divide by two and get the truth. Whether people support opening the Arctic Refuge for oil drilling or oppose it, it’s time to put real numbers to America’s energy use.

The United States consumes more than 30% of the world’s oil for its 6% share of the world’s population. The U.S. has about 3% of the world’s oil reserves within its borders, of which Alaska produces about 1/5th. Do the math and notice that the United States cannot possibly produce its way to oil self-sufficiency. The faster we produce it the sooner it will be gone—all gone.

If Arctic Refuge oil were online today it would literally represent a drop in the bucket of America’s annual oil consumption and have little or no effect on gasoline prices. It will hasten the day when relatively meager U.S. oil reserves are completely drained.

Those who argue for opening the Arctic Refuge and increasing domestic oil production to be “less dependent on foreign oil” are missing an obvious fact. Depletion of our national oil resources will accelerate our dependence on foreign oil.

Economically it makes much more sense to import relatively cheap foreign oil while we develop alternatives and retain our domestic oil reserves at the same time.

If we allow our national oil resources to become depleted, our fossil fuel-based national defense will be at risk as never before. Our country could easily be held hostage by Middle East producers. Instead of $30 per barrel, think about $100 or $300 per barrel, or more. If our past history is any indication of our future actions, the U.S. will send our young soldiers to the Middle East to die for oil supplies so Exxon-Mobil and BPAmoco can sell it to us for maximum profit. American lives and defense dollars for such operations cannot be justified, especially when there are alternatives available to us.

We need a national energy plan. Currently our national energy policy is directed by oil lobbyists. The Union of Concerned Scientists has offered a 30-year plan to reduce American fossil fuel consumption by more than 80% without degrading our standard of living. It seems like a reasonable starting point for rational debate rather than a knee-jerk reaction to rising gasoline prices that are still less than half of what most of the world pays.

The most severe oil price shock in 1973 was not stopped by the government or the oil producers. It was stopped by Americans who conserved fuel and bought more fuel-efficient cars. California cars burn gasoline produced mostly from Alaskan oil extracted from state lands between the Colville and Canning Rivers. Untapped oil in that region may exceed all that is available in the Arctic Refuge. Then there is the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska (NPRA) to the west, which is open and has enormous potential.

If the oil is taken out of NPRA it will no longer be a “reserve.” So why the pressure to open the Arctic Refuge?

Oil companies think it might be easier and more profitable to get. But what is our national interest—oil company profits or national defense?

Senator Murkowski claimed that that new technology will only require 2000 acres of the millions within the Arctic Refuge to get at an estimated16 Billion barrels of oil. Opponents claim that the 2000 acres will be connected by pipelines and roads covering most of the “1002 area” like a fishing net that could impact millions of inland and coastal acres.

According to the 1998 USGS Arctic National Wildlife Refuge 1002 Area, Petroleum Assessment, there is only a 5% chance of finding 16 billion barrels of oil. There is a 50% chance of finding about 3 billion barrels of economically recoverable oil—roughly 1/6th the amount of recoverable oil in Prudhoe Bay alone. The same report identifies about 10 “plays” stretched across the entire 1002 area that would have to be developed to get the total of 3 billion barrels at estimated success rate of 50%. The opponents of opening the Arctic Refuge have the numbers on their side.

In short, the Arctic Refuge is our savings account—the only place truly off-limits from development. If oil companies think Arctic Refuge oil may be easier to develop than NPRA, that ought to be a more compelling reason not to give it to them. It should be set aside IF it is ever REALLY needed. There is no compelling need. The U.S. hasn’t begun to explore the alternatives with a combination of energy conservation and new technologies.

Until the alternatives have been explored and exhausted, the Arctic Refuge should remain as an untouched savings account. The long term risks of opening the Arctic far outweigh any rewards. Do the math.

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Jim Sykes
PO Box 696
Palmer, AK 99645

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ALASKA LEGISLATURE VOTES OVERWHELMINGLY TO REJECT DOD DIRECTIVE PROHIBITIING VOTING POLLS ON BASES

By Freedom Writer
May 10, 2000

On May 3,2000 the Alaska State Senate voted 19-0 (1 excused), to have the Department of Defense to countermand it's directive last month prohibiting voting sites on military installations. You can view the full text of the House Concurrent Resolution 29 at:

www.legis.state.ak.us

The legislation is awaiting the signature of Governor Tony Knowles.

The bill was passed 39-0 (1 absence) the day earlier in the Alaska House of Representatives.

 

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