Read and React

By Molly Dischner
Sun Star Editor-in-Chief

Two notable events happened last week: our new website went live (www.uafsunstar.com if you haven’t seen it yet), and the 26th

Alaska State Legislature’s second session began. More than 100 bills were introduced on the first day, according to the legislature’s website. They range from allowing tax credits for education contributions that go to facilities (HB 236) to naming a committee room for a former senator (SR 9), and run the gamut in between. There’s one unifying factor: with the exception of the committee room bill, nothing passed during the first week it was on the table.

Our library can’t buy books this semester, but the state seems to be trying to help us out as everyone plans for next year. I’ve heard people from several levels comment that the process seems a bit smoother under Sean Parnell than it was under Sarah Palin. And if Parnell’s commitment to deferred maintenance makes it through the budget process, that’s definitely a strong start.

A number of bills will definitely help us: scholarships for incoming students, updates to our land-grant land and funds, appropriations for new engineering buildings at both UAF and UAA, and a new council to help guide preschool to postsecondary education, among a variety of others.

The fact that things haven’t passed yet isn’t particularly exceptional, but it is a reminder that things won’t happen just because the bill made it to the floor. There isn’t enough political capital to get everything passed. Legislators need help.

ASUAF delegates and a group of UAF students will be headed to Juneau next month to do as much lobbying as possible in a short period of time, and the University is doing what it can to connect with legislators and those in Parnell’s administration. But it’s important for them to hear from people who aren’t as ingrained in Alaska’s political scene.

Pick up a copy of The Sun Star next week to read more about the major legislative action that is poised to impact the University. Then do something about it. Call a legislator, write a letter to the editor, tell your friends. Follow the news this spring (our website is a good place to start), and see how things are going for a bill that you’re particularly concerned about, and react.

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