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April 5, 2024

The House Finance Committee Finalizes Operating Budget Amendments While the Senate Releases Draft Capital Budget

The House Finance Committee wrapped up its extensive budget-related amendment process earlier this week and is now considering the finalized amended package. Meanwhile, in Senate Finance the committee introduced a draft capital budget which will be reviewed today and next week.

Budget

Earlier this week the House Finance Committee continued its overview of nearly 100 budget amendments. They wrapped up the amendment process on Wednesday evening. Notable among the accepted amendments was one from Representative Alyse Galvin (D-Anchorage) to add funding into the operating budget for campus security measures at ϲʻA campuses. The total increase of $1,020,000 is funded partially from the unrestricted general fund ($816,000) and partially from university receipts ($204,000). The funds allow ϲʻA to increase the number of sworn officers available on campus and to install updated physical security systems such as cameras and building access systems.

Later this afternoon the committee will introduce a cleaned-up committee substitute that includes all the newly accepted amendments. The committee is required to vote on the new bill substitute before it can be transmitted to the House floor for a debate of the full body. The timeline for the budget to reach the House floor is likely to be early next week.

In the Senate, the Finance Committee began closing out state agency budget overviews. This process will continue over the next two weeks with the University of Alaska budget closeout expected to take place on April 15. The finalized department budgets will inform the Senate’s version of the state operating and capital budgets. 

The Senate also released a earlier this morning. A review of the capital budget will be continued next Wednesday in the committee. Notably, the draft budget does not include funds for ϲʻ’s deferred maintenance or funds needed to meet a federal match requirement on ϲʻF’s Alaska Railbelt Carbon Capture and Sequestration Project. This budget is the starting point for negotiations with the House, so much work remains.  

The Senate capital budget reflects a belief that the House has many items that are still unbudgeted (like millions in payments to the Department of Education and necessary payments for broadband access grants and fire suppression, etc.). The capital budget also anticipates “margins” open for the expected House/Senate negotiation on the Permanent Fund Dividend amount, which remains unsettled and potentially expensive.

Legislative Priorities

On Wednesday afternoon, the House Labor & Commerce once again considered House Bill 55, the Technical and Vocational Education Program (TVEP) reauthorization bill. The committee authorized a committee substitute to the bill which would reauthorize the program in its current form for another two years. This clean reauthorization provides funding stability for ϲʻ’s technical and vocational education programs. The committee will consider additional amendments to the bill this afternoon after which it may pass the bill out and onto the House Finance Committee. 

Upcoming

Arctic Encounter Symposium to Spotlight ϲʻ Excellence

The University of Alaska is proud to co-host the 10th International (AES) in Anchorage from April 10 to 12. AES is the largest annual Arctic policy event in the United States and aims to confront the shared interests and concerns of the United States and the global community on current and future Arctic issues.

While some details remain TBD, ϲʻ students, faculty, research, and leadership will be well-represented during the three-day symposium, as a large number of are ϲʻ-affiliated. Faculty and students from all three ϲʻ universities will speak about ϲʻ's leadership in Arctic security, energy, education, fisheries, changing climate and environment, and community development.

ϲʻ is also hosting two-panel discussions. The “Building Arctic Leaders” session will feature faculty and students from , the at ϲʻF, at ϲʻA, and the at ϲʻS. The “Building Indigenous and Inclusive Education Across the Arctic” session includes panelists from ϲʻA, Canada, and Norway. President Pitney will provide remarks during the symposium highlighting ϲʻ’s contributions to global Arctic expertise. 

More information about the symposium is available on the .

What We’re Watching

Wednesday, April 10

  • 8:00 a.m - House Education: : “ϲʻA Law School; Law School Partnerships”
  • 1:30 pm - Senate Finance: : “Appropriations: Capital; Reappropriation”

Friday, April 12

  • 1:00 p.m. - House Judiciary: : “FAFSA Raffle”
  • 3:30 p.m. - Senate Resources: Presentation “Cook Inlet Region Low Carbon Power Generation with Carbon Capture, Transport, and Storage Feasibility Study” by Frank Paskvan, Affiliate Professor, University of Alaska Fairbanks Institute of Northern Engineering

For more information, contact Director of State Relations for the University of Alaska System Chad Hutchison, cell 907-378-3946, email clhutchison@alaska.edu. You can also follow the University of Alaska Government Relations on our .

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