Headline News

Classifieds Commentary Consumer News Contact Us Guestbook Guest Forum Headline News Letters to the Editor Opinion Poll Our Links Quotations Trading Post Home
About Us About Us
Advertising Advertising
Archive Archive
Art & Literature Art & Literature
Contact Us
Guest Forum
Headline News
Letters to the Editor
Opinion Poll
Our Links
Trading Post

Note: Links to other sites will open in a new window.

by Senator Loren Leman
April 06, 2001

DOLLARS AND SENSE: On Thursday night the Senate Finance Committee reported the Senate’s versions of the Operating Budget and Mental Health Budget. We debated 16 amendments offered by the Democrats on the Senate floor today and will take the final votes on the full bills on Monday. A conference committee will be appointed to resolve differences between the Senate and House versions. One of the items in the Senate version is $12.3 million for Learning Opportunity Grants. These are targeted grants for schools to improve performance on the high school competency exam and for textbooks and supplies. Funding for the University of Alaska was also increased. We also provided funding for 12 new troopers and Fish & Wildlife officers. Medicaid increases were driven by formulas in this federal/state matching fund program. Otherwise, we held the line on spending increases, after accounting for bonded indebtedness and the increased costs for the State employee contracts approved last year.

BILLS ON THE MOVE: Senate Bill 121, the Right-of-Way Leasing Act revisions legislation that I sponsored, moved from the Senate Resources Committee on Tuesday with a “Do Pass” recommendation from all committee members present. It is one of several bills the Republican Majority is working on to help with Alaska gas commercialization. It is scheduled for a Senate Finance Committee hearing on Monday, April 9.

Senate Bill 133, the High School Competency Exam bill by the Senate HESS Committee, passed the Senate last week and was considered by the House Special Committee on Education Thursday. That committee amended the bill, removing some of the provisions affecting special education students. It now moves to the House HESS Committee. Differences in the House and Senate versions will likely be worked out in a conference committee.

FIGHTING FIRES: You may have read an April 6 article by Martha Bellisle in the Anchorage Daily News regarding firefighting aircraft. Unfortunately, she was inaccurate in her reporting. What is true is that I am very concerned about the fire danger expected on the Kenai Peninsula and south Anchorage Hillside this summer. Being able to respond quickly to a fire outbreak is paramount to defend life and property. I have suggested some possibilities to the Department of Natural Resources. If you would like to see my response to the ADN article, go here.

SPECIAL VISITORS: On Wednesday I was very pleased when my wife Carolyn and daughter Nicole appeared in the visitors gallery during the Senate session. Carolyn had decided to pay a surprise visit from Anchorage—and surprised I was. It brightened my time in Juneau. Also visiting on Wednesday and Thursday were Melinda Dewey, her son Roger and granddaughter Virginia (see picture). Virginia attends Turnagain School with Nicole. Last year Melinda lost her husband Dean, a family friend, in a fishing accident near Cordova, and after I introduced the family on the Senate Floor they were present for the approval of a citation honoring his memory.

CONGRATS NINILCHIK GIRLS: Last weekend the Ninilchik Wolverine girls won the State championship in 2A basketball, their fourth championship in the last six years. I am particularly fond of this community where I was raised—and commend the team and their fine coach, Dan Leman, my cousin.

If you know of other Alaskans who would like to receive my weekly report by email, please contact me or 465-2095, or visit my website.

(Enhanced for Netscape)

Previous Page

Web Alaska & Oregon Web Solutions. Copyright © 2001. All Rights Reserved