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Good News, Bad News, and Between
Associated General Contractors of Alaska Legislative Report
By Alicia Amberg, Executive Director, and Dianne Blumer, AGC Lobbyist

he Alaska State Legislature adjourned on May 18 at the end of the first day of the special session called by Governor Mike Dunleavy. The bipartisan Senate insisted on a balanced budget, with the Permanent Fund Dividend at approximately $1,300 (a 25/75 split) and a one-time education funding boost of $174.8 million.

The Senate was able to get the House to vote in support of this budget after they offered them $34.2 million in last-minute capital spending (see list of capital projects below). The final budget does not impose taxes, does not draw from savings, and has a small surplus. It is now being transmitted to the governor, who has twenty days (not counting Sundays) to accept it and/or use his line-item veto power.

This session comes to an end with a mix of good and disappointing news. Unfortunately, our strong support and hard-fought battle for 404 State Primacy funding (seeking to grant the state the ability to issue permits for development in wetlands, peatlands, and waters of the US) was ultimately denied. We fought for it to the very end—literally, until the last day of session. But just because it didn’t get funded this year doesn’t mean there isn’t hope for next year!

On the bright side, Senate Bill 123, the commercial driver’s license legislation, passed, which means that an applicant for an Alaska Commercial Driver’s License no longer has to hold an Alaska driver’s license for an entire year prior to applying.

While the constitutional budget requirement has been satisfied, there remains some question if the governor will call a special session in the fall to focus on revenue measures. We will keep you informed on whether or not that happens! For now, we adjourn the regular session and first special session of 2023 and get to work building Alaska! Have a great construction season everyone!

Thank You!
The staff at AGC cannot thank our Legislative Affairs Committee co-chairs and members enough for all of their work this session. They have met almost every week, written multiple letters of support, testified in committees, and have stayed informed on countless moving pieces of legislation. Their tireless involvement is what allows AGC to best advocate for our members. Thank you, Legislative Affairs Committee for all of your hard work! A special thanks to our lobbyist Dianne Blumer for keeping tabs on weekly happenings in the capital and to Brittany Stampohar for coming back on to help track/detail all of the legislation that is relevant to our industry!

Until next session (hopefully in January), be well.

Highlights of the Capital Projects in the Budget Deal
Mat-Su Spending
  • $5 million: reconstruction of Palmer Public Library
  • $5 million: runway extension at Wasilla Airport
  • $4.75 million: Talkeetna water and sewer line repairs and upgrades
  • $1 million: Mat-Su Borough metropolitan planning organization support
Interior Spending
  • $7.1 million: Veterans Cemetery
  • $3 million: abatement at the long-abandoned Polaris Hotel in downtown Fairbanks
  • $474,000: ADA-compliant elevator at the Salcha Senior Center
  • $85,000: maintenance at the Tok Chamber of Commerce
  • $25,000: Kenny Lake Volunteer Fire Department
Anchorage Spending
  • $1.5 million: purchase and establishment of Eagle River Cemetery
  • $2 million: Mary Avenue area storm drainage
  • $1 million: Starner Bridge Road and drainage in Eagle River
  • $447,500: drainage and ditching in the South Anchorage Hillside service area
  • $200,000: South Anchorage’s Hillside fire prevention and mitigation
  • $420,000: Lower Virgo Avenue emergency egress improvements in South Anchorage
Kenai Spending
  • $670,525: Hope transfer site relocation
  • $150,000: Ninilchik Senior Citizens Center kitchen expansion
  • $600,000: City of Kenai’s Wildwood Drive Roadway reconstruction
Rural Spending
  • $5 million: City of Dillingham’s harbor float replacement
  • $500,000: City of Kotzebue’s Cape Blossom Port Authority
  • $269,410: City of Pilot Station to buy a bulldozer
  • $500,000: City of Bethel Public Safety Communication Tower
Statewide Spending
  • $550,000: State of Alaska Police Policy Manual Project
For additional details, click here and please read the full amendment covering the changes