Capitol Report for March 6

Capitol report
March 6, 2020

Capitol Report

Operating Budget Passes House
The House passed the FY21 Operating Budget on Tuesday on a vote of 23-to-16. The budget appropriates $4.5 billion in unrestricted general fund spending, and largely reflects the Governor’s request of $4.4 billion. Currently UA’s FY21 state Operating Budget stands at $277 million unrestricted general funds (UGF), consistent with the 3-year budget compact signed in August.
At 43 days, this is the fastest that an operating budget has ever passed the House. The budget, House Bill 205, has been transmitted to the Senate, and we expect action by the Senate Finance Committee and its budget subcommittees in the coming weeks. President Johnsen was in Juneau for meetings with legislators and the administration on Thursday, and your government relations team will continue to be engaged in the budget process.

Governor’s Cup Hockey
UAF welcomed several state leaders last weekend for the Governor’s Cup hockey matchup between the UAF Nanooks and UAA Seawolves. Lt. Governor Kevin Meyer dropped the puck to open last Friday’s game, and Representative Adam Wool did the honors on Saturday. It was also great to have Representative Bart LeBon in attendance. Thank you to Chancellor Dan White and the UAF Athletics Department for hosting these VIPs.

Bills on the Move
As the 31st Alaska Legislature goes into its final stretch, we are monitoring more than 30 pieces of legislation that impact UA. This week we saw action on legislation to expand middle college programs (SB 30), change the WWAMI program (HB 159), and consider adding a faculty member to the UA Board of Regents (HB 180). Next week we expect action on legislation to reauthorize the Technical Vocational Education Program (TVEP) and the introduction of proposed state fiscal plan which could benefit our university. We will provide more information on these developments in next week's report.