News from Rep. Cathy Muñoz

Rep  Cathy MunozREPRESENTATIVE
CATHY MUÑOZ

State Capitol, Room 501
Juneau, AK 99801-1182
(907) 465-3744 (Office)
(907) 465-2273 (Fax)

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Bonnie Gruening
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Maily Miramontes
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 IMG_0038Representative Muñoz and Governor Walker at the Inaugural Ball

16282597465_cc082db3d0_o    Juneau Delegation hosts welcome luncheon

 mobility coalitionJuneau Delegation with the Alaska Mobility Coalition 

 6-18-14 Gold Creek2Representative Muñoz reading to students at Gold Creek Child Development Center

January 16, 2015

Dear Friends and Neighbors, On Tuesday, January 20, the legislature gavels in for the start of the 29th Legislature. The Governor delivers the State of the State address at 7pm on January 21, and the State of the Budget address at 7pm on January 22. Both will be broadcast live on KTOO – 360 North, Channel 18.The Juneau Welcome Reception will be held prior to the State of the Budget at 5pm on January 22, at Centennial Hall. I hope that you can attend to welcome legislators, staff, and families to our great city.

Budget
Given low oil prices, we have our work cut out for us as we reduce spending and discuss new sources of revenue. All new programs will be assessed and proposals to reduce formula driven programs will be on the table. As Southeast’s only finance member, I work hard to protect the economy of our region. This year, I will chair the operating budget subcommittees for the Department of Environmental Conservation and the Alaska Court System. 

Legislation
The first and second round of pre-filed legislation have been released. At the request of local residents, I have pre-filed four pieces of legislation. The measures would allow for an additional 120-day allowable absence for unforeseen medical emergencies (House Bill 10), prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation (House Bill 42), designate the House of Wickersham as the official residence of the lieutenant governor (House Bill 25), and reinstate the sport fishing licensing program (House Bill 41). 

Affordable Housing Update
Alaska Housing Finance Corporation (AHFC) was just awarded $9 million in tax credit financing to St. Vincent de Paul Home Run Project for 41 new units of affordable housing for low-income seniors and $3 million in tax credit financing to purchase and renovate Sleepy Spruce multifamily housing by the hospital. 

Juneau Access Update
We are urging the Administration to complete the environmental document which is funded and now underway. Failure to move forward may require the state to pay back federal funds already expended on this project. Two AMHS ferries designated for the Lynn Canal are in the works and will be completed in 2016 and 2017, respectively. 

PFD filing is open
You have until March 31st to file for the 2015 PFD, but why wait? Join the 125,395 Alaskans who’ve filed already by visiting http://www.pfd.alaska.gov/.

Legislature’s new website
The Legislature has debuted their redesigned public website. Check out http://akleg.gov/ for information about past and current legislators, bills, floor schedules, and links to live streaming of hearings. You can also download the Alaska State Legislature app from iTunes or the Play Store.

Guest Page
If you know a student who would like to serve as a guest page on the House floor, please contact my office and we can make the necessary arrangements. This is a wonderful and exciting opportunity for our youth.

My office is your office
My office is located in Room 501 of the State Capitol Building and I welcome you to visit anytime. I will be looking forward to your feedback and encourage your comments and emails as I continue to work on the issues you care most about.

Sincerely,
Munoz Signature Blue
Cathy Muñoz
Alaska State Representative
District 31

Email: Rep.Cathy.Munoz@akleg.gov

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Muñoz introduces legislation inspired by Juneau residents

Four bills released today on PFD allowable absences, anti-discrimination, the House of Wickersham, and sport fishing licensing

 For immediate release                                                                                                January 9, 2015


Juneau, Alaska – Four new bills inspired by Juneau residents were released today as part of a package of legislation that came out before the legislative session begins on January 20, 2015.

Introduced by Juneau Representative Cathy Muñoz, the measures would allow for an additional 120-day allowable absence for unforeseen medical emergencies, prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity or expression, designate the House of Wickersham as the official residence of the lieutenant governor, and reinstate the sport fishing licensing program.

“These are all based on ideas that constituents have brought to me over the past year,” Muñoz said. “Each one is designed to provide a benefit to the public such as allowing those with unforeseen medical emergencies to still qualify for the Permanent Fund Dividend, reinstating safeguards for sport fishing guides and operators, maintaining the historical integrity of the House of Wickersham and designating it as the official residence of the lieutenant governor, and recognizing for all Alaskans the same civil rights regardless of their sexual orientation and gender identity or expression. My constituents asked for help to address these issues, and these bills aim to do just that.”

The measures are among pre-filed legislation that came out today and will be formally introduced in the House on the first day of the session.

What follows are brief summaries of each bill.

House Bill 10 – Sponsored by Representative Muñoz
House Bill 10 will allow people to qualify for a Permanent Fund Dividend if they have been away from the state for 120 days in addition to any absence claimed for an unplanned medical emergency. This provision only applies if the 120-day absence occurs prior to the unplanned medical emergency.

House Bill 25 – Sponsored by Representatives Muñoz and Kito III
House Bill 25 designates the House of Wickersham as the official residence of the lieutenant governor. The house will serve as the living quarters as well as a place to conduct official and ceremonial duties. Additionally, it will be available to the Alaska Historical Commission, managed to maintain its historical integrity, and available for public tours and events.

House Bill 41 – Sponsored by Representative Elect Tilton and Representative Muñoz
House Bill 41 reinstates the sport fishing guide program that ended on December 31, 2014. Created by the legislature in 2004, it has proven to be beneficial to both the sport fishing industry and resource managers. Reinstating it ensures certain industry standard safety requirements will continue to be met. HB 41 differs from the past program in only one aspect: it proposes to double the fee structure over the next three years. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game now spends $380,000 to $400,000 annually to administer the program. With licensing revenues approximately half of that, HB 41 attempts to make it run at no cost to the state.

House Bill 42 – Sponsored by Representatives Muñoz and Nageak
House Bill 42 will add discriminating against sexual orientation and gender identity or expression to the list of prohibited discriminatory practices. Currently, the opportunity to obtain employment, credit and financing, public accommodations, housing accommodations and other property without discrimination does not cover sexual orientation and gender identity or expression as a civil right. HB 42 will ensure that all Alaskans are awarded the same civil liberties.

All prefiled bills can be found here.

Welcoming Sister City Delegation from the Municipality of Kalibo, Province of Aklan, Philippines

I am proud to announce that Kalibo Mayor William Lachica and a delegation from the Municipality of Kalibo are in Juneau to formalize the Sister City relationship between our two communities. Many of Juneau’s Filipino community members come from the Province of Aklan and have family members living in or near Kalibo.

In 2012, at the invitation of Vice Governor Billie Calizo-Quimpo, I was a part of Alaska’s first official trade visit to the Philippines. As a result of that trade mission there were three desired goals; to establish a Sister City relationship between Juneau and Kalibo, increase the Alaska seafood export markets in the Philippines, and create ties between the University of Alaska –Southeast and Aklan State University – Kalibo.

The community of Juneau is invited to help us welcome the delegation for the official signing ceremony tomorrow Saturday, November 1, at 3:30pm in the Juneau Assembly Chambers. Please join us in formalizing this Sister City relationship.

Kalibo Welcoming

Governor and Tlingit-Haida Central Council sign agreement

Governor Parnell, Jason Wilson, and THTCCA Council President Peterson at the VPSO and MOA signing, 25 August 2014

Richard Peterson, president of the Central Council of Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska, Governor Sean Parnell, Cathy, and Jason Wilson, Central Council Village Public Safety Officer program director, at the August 25, 2014, signing ceremony at Elizabeth Peratrovich Hall in Juneau. Photo courtesy of the Office of the Governor.

Juneau – Governor Sean Parnell and the Central Council of Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska signed a first-of-its-kind memorandum of agreement August 25, 2014, in Juneau, signifying a new era of better communication and collaboration on education, workforce training, jobs, economic development, public safety, and energy. Central Council and the state have appointed liaisons who will communicate with each other on these topics and more.

Central Council President Richard Peterson noted that 2014 already has been an historic year for Alaska Natives with the passage last April of bills officially recognizing indigenous languages and designating November 14 as Dr. Walter Soboleff Day.

Governor Parnell cited the Village Public Safety Officer program as an example of successful collaboration between the state and non-profit organizations like Tlingit-Haida Central Council.

For more about the agreement, go to KTOO and the Juneau Empire. For more about Village Public Safety Officers in Southeast Alaska, see this story by KTOO. Central Council has posted a 33-minute video of the event. To see it, go here.