Legislative Session Recap

So how did education fare during the 2nd session of the 30th Legislature? Overall, pretty well.

Both bodies passed multiple pieces of legislation. Many of these bills are on the Governor’s desk awaiting his signature.

Following the session adjournment on May 13, the Governor has 20 days, excluding Sundays, to take action on bills the legislature has passed. During this period, the Governor may have a bill examined by the Department of Law and affected agencies before acting on it. By constitutional mandate, the Governor must either sign the bill, veto the bill, or let it become law without his signature.

In all, twenty-one education-related bills were passed this session addressing an array of topics that impact districts and schools. Here’s a complete list with brief explanations of each bill. Click on the bill number links to learn more.

HB 64 Reading Proficiency Task Force; Dyslexia – Establishes a task force to make recommendations on how to serve students diagnosed with dyslexia. One of task force seats is designated for an AASB representative.

HB 135 School Construction Grant Program – Allows for a request for an extension to complete a school construction project under the construction grant program.

HB 212 School Construction; REAA/Small Municipal Fund – This fund was established under the Kasayulie settlement. This bill adds major maintenance as an allowable project to the fund parameters.

HB 213 Public School Trust Fund – Combines several accounts and creates a POMV (4.75%) draw on the Public School Trust Fund. The intent is to increase the rate of return on the fund and protect the corpus.

HB 214 Bree’s Law; Teen Dating Violence Programs – Districts are to develop age appropriate training on teen dating violence. February is designated as Teen Dating & Violence Prevention Month. The Act is renamed Bree Moore Teen Dating Violence & Prevention Program.

HB 221 Workforce & Education Related Statistics Program – Directs the Alaska Commission on Postsecondary Education to administer a statewide workforce and education-related statistics program.

HB 233 Extend Education Tax Credits – Tightens up allowable entities for utilization of tax credits. Lowers the threshold for claiming tax credits. Adds equipment to cash contributions. Extends the program through 2025.

HB 285Appropriation: Mental Health Budget – This is an appropriations bill that funds organizations throughout the state eligible for funding. Many of these organizations serve students and families.

HB 286Appropriation: Operating Budget/Loans/Funds

HB 287Appropriation: Pupil Transportation; Education – Includes one-time $30 million grant distributed through the formula for FY 20. Fully funds FY19 BSA. Fully fund FY19 & FY20 pupil transportation

HB 306PERS/TRS Distributions – Provides disbursement options for state employees who retire under defined contribution plans.

HB 333Municipalities; Phone Use in School Zone – Permits a municipality to adopt an ordinance prohibiting cell phone usage in a school zone.

HJR 29Reauthorize Secure Rural Schools Act – Urges Congress to reauthorize the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self Determination Act of 2000.

HR 7Supporting a Safe School Environment – Recognizes the importance of a safe school environment and supports improvement of school safety measures.

SB 104Education Curriculum Requirements – Amends the statute to only require curriculum reviews every ten years, directs DEED to research and make available a proven curriculum for math and language arts and implement a three year pilot project for four districts. Adoption of the curriculum is voluntary.

SB 26Appropriations Limit & Permanent Fund Limit; Dividend; Earnings – Creates a POMV (5.25%) method of withdrawal from the Permanent Fund based on the previous five years for the purpose of funding government and ensuring a PFD. This legislation’s intent is to protect the corpus of the fund in future years.

SB 142Appropriation: Capital Budget – Funds the first five projects on the list, Distributes a one-time $20 million grant to districts through the foundation in FY19, $6 million in P-K grants.

SB 185Reemployment of Retired Teachers & Administrators – With certain stipulations allows for the reemployment of teachers and administrators to fill vacant positions for one year at a time without loss of retirement benefits.

SB 216School funding for Consolidated Schools – Allows a district who experiences a loss of students to consolidate schools with a hold harmless step-down provision to prevent a sudden loss of funding.

SCR 5Alaska Reads Day – Encourages citizens and organizations to work together to on March 2, 2019 to raise awareness for the importance of reading.

SCR 15April 16, 2019: Alaska Education & Sharing Day – Designates April 16 as Alaska Education & Sharing Day consistent with the Presidential proclamation for the same across the U.S. to instill a spirit of service in young people.

The 1st session of the 31st Legislature will convene on January 15, 2019.

# # #