The Alaska State Legislature recently passed three priority bills I sponsored which were carried by my staff during the first regular session of the 30th Legislature: Senate Bill 3 Small Vessel Wastewater Exemption; Senate Bill 28 Municipal Land Selections: Petersburg; and Senate Bill 88 Alaska Mental Health Trust Land Exchange. These bills are very rewarding for the district and represent positive economic news.
The Alaska State Senate approved the final version of Senate Bill 3 (SB 3) on Monday, May 15, 2017. SB 3 is a bill that preserves the ability of several state ferries and small passenger cruise ships to operate in Alaska waters using the existing wastewater permit system. It was imperative that we keep the ferries running that serve our communities and not interrupt the small ship tourism industry. The bill will now be sent to Governor Walker for signature.
The Alaska House of Representatives also passed Senate Bill 28 (SB 28) on Wednesday, May 17, 2017. This is an important bill which will allow the recently formed Petersburg Borough to receive just over 14,000 acres of land from the State of Alaska, 12,770 more acres of land than it would have received under the original entitlement. This gives the Borough a reasonable amount of state land for economic and residential development for the future. This is particularly important for the Petersburg Borough to have the ability to stand on its own during times of state budget reductions.
Finally, Senate Bill 88 (SB 88) advances a land exchange between the Alaska Mental Health Trust and the United States Forest Service that has been languishing for a decade in the federal bureaucracy. The exchange will benefit multiple Southeast communities, by protecting sensitive lands and view sheds close to towns, will benefit the timber industry, and provide much needed jobs by providing timber supply. The Alaska Mental Health Trust will also be able to generate revenue and use the proceeds from timber sales to benefit Alaskans with mental health needs.
Thank you to my staff, and staff from all of the departments who assisted in making this possible These Bills represent good news for the district.