FEBRUARY 15, 2016
Representing District 17:
Midtown, University, and East Anchorage
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Anchorage, AK 99501
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With deep sadness, the Passing of a Dear Friend
and A New Bill
Dear Friends and Neighbors,
My team and I are full steam ahead this session already and we are making real progress toward understanding the full breadth of Alaska’s new budget challenges. Also, I have proposed a new piece of legislation that I am excited to share with you. More important than this was some tragic news of just yesterday: amidst the whirlwind of activity this session, a dear friend and member of my caucus, Representative Max Gruenberg passed away this weekend and will be sincerely missed by all.
A Great Friend to Me, to All, and a True Statesman and Gentleman
On a profound note, one of my close friends and colleagues, Representative Max Gruenberg who was serving the Russian Jack and East Anchorage areas and has been a Member of the House for over twenty years passed away this weekend. He has deeply inspired my work here at the Legislature as a fellow attorney. Max was a master wordsmith and brilliant tactician of the law. More than just an avid grammarian, however, Max encouraged our caucus to listen intently for the voice of all interests, big and small, and to serve everyone with conscientious consideration. No legislator in the building was more beloved by both sides of the aisle. I will miss him profoundly. My wife, Donna, and I mourn his loss. We are joined in this sorrow by the entire Legislative community. Our condolences go out to his wife Kayla and his family.
House Concurrent Resolution 23
First in terms of budgetary issues, I stood up this week against House Concurrent Resolution 23 in an effort to not derail our progress toward non-budget legislation and to keep the budget process open to the public by maintaining ample notice of budget hearings. Although I recognize that solving our fiscal issues by reviewing the balance sheets of all areas of government in committee hearings is important to solving our budget issues this session, it is also important to preserve the rules which allow the public to engage in this process, namely the rules that require notice before such hearings. This is why I stood up against HCR 23, to ensure your right as a citizen to have a say in the budget.
Accidental Trapping of Pets and Injuries to Trail Users
Also, I filed a new bill last week that aims to prevent accidental trapping of pets, children, and other hikers along public trails and in public recreation areas around the state. This legislation has been years in the making and I am so grateful for all of the community and constituent support in creating it. Although we anticipate some debate between trappers and animal owners looking forward, this bill has been carefully and meticulously drafted to take into consideration the land-use needs of various groups so that many people can enjoy public lands without coming into conflict with each other. Creating this bill has been a wonderful process and I am so glad to have it filed last week.
Incidentally, Rep. Gruenberg was a great friend of pets and would have appreciated the concerns raised in this trapping measure.
Finally, take a look at photos of some of the visitors I met last week including the Governor’s Council on Disability and the Kashunumiut School District.
It was great to have met with these truly inspirational groups and to consider their needs from the legislature. Hopefully, I will get to meet with many more citizen and constituent groups this session! I look forward to hearing from you with comments, concerns, and insight.
I Answer to You!
Representative Andy Josephson
State Capitol Bldg., Room 430