House Majority says session near an end

    Juneau, Alaska (KINY) The House Majority discussed issues like education, public safety and the state budget during their weekly press conference today.

    Rep. Ivy Spohnholz argued a fiscal plan based on a draw for the fair market value of the permanent fund, will hurt working families, "At a time when we have our highest unemployment in over a decade, the highest in the nation, we have more people qualify for medicaid and public assistance than ever before, reducing the dividend, without looking at other ways to fill the fiscal gap is a non starter for me."

    The house passed a contraceptive bill that 21-17 that will be paid for by medicaid and many health insurance plans.
    Rep. Scott Kawasaki said school administrators are in town this week urging the legislature to support education funding, "They are relying on us to get out of here on time, to pass an education budget that went through earlier this year.  They want it soon, so they can hire teachers back."

    Majority leader Chris Tuck said the end of the session is near and the house could vote on a smoking ban bill, moving it out of the rules committee.

    Rep. Justin Parrish of Juneau said a school consolidation bill that is being debated would remove financial penalties for schools that are forced to shut down schools, "I think its another tool in the tool box.  Some districts really want it, they see an urgent need.  I hope our population in Juneau stabilizes.  We have had some decline in our student enrollment.  I know the charter school moved out of a moldy building.  I think it is a useful tool to offer to school districts, a sort of hold harmless provision should they decide consolidation is in their best interests."

    Parrish said he supports a long range fiscal plan and that this years plan will only spend from the state's savings.



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