Rep. Justin Ruffridge: Bills move forward and public weighs in

Capitol Corner: Legislators report back from Juneau

Rep. Justin Ruffridge works in the Alaska State Capitol building on Tuesday, March 28, 2023, in Juneau, Alaska. (Mark Sabbatini/Juneau Empire)

Rep. Justin Ruffridge works in the Alaska State Capitol building on Tuesday, March 28, 2023, in Juneau, Alaska. (Mark Sabbatini/Juneau Empire)

This week, I presented two of my bills in committee. HB 195 was heard in House Fisheries on Feb. 13, and we heard public testimony. On Valentine’s Day, House Bill 148, a bill relating to the Alaska Performance Scholarship, was presented and passed out of the House Finance Committee. This bill is now headed to the House Floor. While this bill is a House Education Committee bill, my office has been the one presenting it through committees. This bill is the result of collaboration between House Education Committee members and would assist Alaskan students with the rising cost of post-secondary education.

House Bill 309, which I introduced last week has been referred to the House Health and Social Services and Labor and Commerce Committees. I am looking forward to the passage of this bill and the benefits it would bring to optometrists and their patients.

Negotiations regarding energy continue to be a priority in the legislature this year. On Feb. 7, the House and Senate met for a Joint Resource Committee to hear presentations from Hilcorp, HEX/Furie, BlueCrest Energy Inc., and ENSTAR. I want to encourage readers to watch this committee hearing as the proposals debated in the Resource Committee paint a vivid picture of the near-term outlook on the gas shortage issue. Talk of energy shortfalls in Southcentral Alaska has been at the forefront of energy discussion the past few weeks, and these presentations helped provide insight and background into that problem.

The most important thing the legislature is tasked with each year is passing a budget. Throughout this process, Finance Subcommittees meet in order to review specific areas of the budget and make recommendations that will be brought before the standing Finance Committee. Subcommittees usually meet throughout the month of February. I am a member of the House Corrections, Public Safety, Health, Family and Community Services, Labor and Workforce Development, Revenue, and Education and Early Development Finance Subcommittees.

Please reach out to my office with any questions! Call 907-465-2693 or email Rep.Justin.Ruffridge@akleg.gov.

Visit akleg.gov for more information on bills, committees, and hearing schedules.

More in Opinion

Rep. Justin Ruffridge, a Soldotna Republican who co-chairs the House Education Committee, speaks during floor debate of a joint session of the Alaska State Legislature on Monday, March 18, 2024. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Rep. Justin Ruffridge: Creating a road map to our shared future

Capitol Corner: Legislators report back from Juneau

An array of solar panels stand in the sunlight at Whistle Hill in Soldotna, Alaska, on Sunday, April 7, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Renewable Energy Fund: Key to Alaska’s clean economy transition

AEA will continue to strive to deliver affordable, reliable, and sustainable energy to provide a brighter future for all Alaskans.

Mount Redoubt can be seen acoss Cook Inlet from North Kenai Beach on Thursday, July 2, 2022. (Photo by Erin Thompson/Peninsula Clarion)
Opinion: An open letter to the HEA board of directors

Renewable energy is a viable option for Alaska

Sen. Jesse Bjorkman, R-Nikiski, speaks in opposition to an executive order that would abolish the Board of Certified Direct-Entry Midwives during a joint legislative session on Tuesday, March 12, 2024 in Juneau, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Sen. Jesse Bjorkman: Making progress, passing bills

Capitol Corner: Legislators report back from Juneau

Priya Helweg is the deputy regional director and executive officer for the Office of the Regional Director (ORD), Office of Intergovernmental and External Affairs, Department of Health and Human Services, Region 10. (Image via hhs.gov)
Opinion: Taking action on the maternal health crisis

The United States has the highest maternal mortality rate among high-income countries

Heidi Hedberg. (Photo courtesy of the Alaska Department of Health)
Opinion: Alaska’s public assistance division is on course to serve Alaskans in need more efficiently than ever

We are now able to provide in-person service at our offices in Bethel, Juneau, Kodiak, Kenai, Homer and Wasilla

Sara Hondel (Courtesy photo)
Opinion: Alaskan advocate shines light on Alzheimer’s crisis

In the heart of the nation’s capital next week, volunteers will champion the urgent need for legislative action to support those affected by Alzheimer’s

Rep. Ben Carpenter, a Nikiski Republican, speaks during floor debate of a joint session of the Alaska State Legislature on Monday, March 18, 2024. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Rep. Ben Carpenter: Clearing red tape on occupational licensing

Capitol Corner: Legislators report back from Juneau

Most Read