Legislators in the Alaska House plowed through over a hundred amendments to the state operating budget last week. The house majority defeated attempts to cut the Village Public Safety Officer (VPSO) program, the Power Cost Equalization (PCE) program, and public broadcasting. Representative Zach Fansler of Bethel, along with other rural legislators, got up over and over again to defend those budgets.
"My coalition members joined myself and our other rural legislators in lock-step to protect those things that are so important to our region. I was very honored to be able to stand up and speak against many of those amendments and to vote "no" each time."
Besides the budget, Fansler has several priority bills this session. House Bill 106 would provide a funding mechanism for civil legal services for the poor, programs like Alaska Legal Services. Another bill working its way through the House Finance committee is called the TVEP Bill. It would continue to fund training and vocational education programs.
"It directly helps places like Yuut [Elitnaurviat] right there in Bethel as well as University of Alaska. So it's something that is vital to our region to getting our folks trained and getting them out in the workforce. "
Finance Committee passage is likely the last hurdle the bill has to get past in order to get to the House floor.
Representative Fansler's entire conversation with KYUK can be heard today, March 20, immediately following Yuk to Yuk on KYUK.