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Kodiak delegation pushes bills to support fisheries and establish a state pension

Downtown Kodiak, Oct. 11, 2023. (Brian Venua/KMXT)
Downtown Kodiak, Oct. 11, 2023. (Brian Venua/KMXT)

The Alaska Legislative Session started Jan. 16 and Kodiak’s delegation has already introduced a slew of bills on the floor.

According to the Alaska Beacon, Representative Louise Stutes has three bills in the house as well as one house concurrent resolution so far.

HB 18 would have the state help create nonprofit regional fishing cooperatives with the goal to develop new fisheries. Funding for the nonprofits would come from fees paid by fishermen.

HB 19 would reduce some paperwork for fishing fleets – if a boat is registered with the Coast Guard, it would no longer have to register separately with the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles.

HB 20 would make it possible for members of the Board of Fish and Board of Game to debate and vote on issues despite conflicts of interest.

HCR 6, which is a house concurrent resolution, would have the Legislature encourage state agencies to plan celebrations for the United States’ 250th anniversary in two years.

Senate President Gary Stevens also has a handful of bills he’s pushing in the State Senate.

SB 29 would establish civics as a required class for kids to graduate high school.

SB 89 proposes a new tax on electronic cigarette products and raises the minimum age to buy or sell those products to 21 years old. The Senate passed both SB 29 and SB 89 in the last legislative session but the house did not.

Stevens also is co-sponsoring SB 88 alongside Cathy Giessel of Anchorage and Click Bishop of Fairbanks. The bill would establish a pension program for state employees. The state previously offered a pension plan for its employees but switched to a 401(k)-style retirement program in 2006.

Stevens is also pushing a Senate Concurrent Resolution. SCR 8 would be a letter commending the National Conference of State Legislatures for its 50th anniversary next year.

More information and the progress of each bill can be found on the Alaska Legislature’s website.