Summer is here! Although it may not seem like the summer of our pasts (no graduation celebrations, no big events for Memorial Day), the weather is warmer and sunny (at least today it is!). I hope you’ve all been able to get out and enjoy some of the nice weather to help make things feel a bit like normal in these still trying and exhausting times.
The legislature wrapped up their Second Regular Session on May 20, 2020. But I use “wrapped up” loosely, as many things were postponed due to the difficulties of trying to meet and conduct sessions remotely, including many of the bills we were tracking. Unless these bills are specifically called to be addressed in a special session, these bills will die this year. However, we’re planning on bringing them all back to life next year and picking up where we left off with advocacy for these issues.
Before ending session, the legislature ratified the Governor’s plan for nearly $1.5B in federal coronavirus aid funds. More than $560M in municipal aid will be distributed to cities and boroughs to help offset the costs of this pandemic. But our state was having budget concerns even before the pandemic – what happens now? How do we move forward when we are now facing not only existing budget concerns but also a pandemic? How do we address education, healthcare, and infrastructure when these institutions were already in a financial crisis before the coronavirus and now face even deeper budget issues? I don’t have the answers, yet. But I do know that as an organization, APDC will continue to invest in our state, its people, and its infrastructure. Together, we’ll continue to advocate for the design community to ensure Alaska prospers. Now get out and enjoy the beauties of this wonderful state over the summer and I’ll see you all in the fall!