Have a Question? Here's Some Examples of How I Can Help
December 20, 2017
Dear Friends and Neighbors,
I hope this finds you all happy and healthy during the holiday season and able to celebrate with family, friends and loved ones.  This is also a season when legislators prepare for the upcoming session, considering new legislation to offer or existing proposals to pursue. While the budget remains the critical issue, I want to take a minute to share how some of your ideas become potential legislation, and how we look into issues and concerns for resolution or solution.  
Constituents contact me using every option available: phone, email, paper mail, and social media.  I frequently run into people at the grocery store, community council meetings, the dog park, etc. They ask questions and raise issues.  I consider every question or idea that comes to me and sometimes I have a solution or referral, other times I am at a loss. Here are some examples of the kinds of things we look into: 
Fish and Game:  We received an email about a   Board of Game proposal to remove goats and sheep from the ‘clean list’ of domestic animals, meaning people would be required to have a permit to keep them as pets if within a certain distance of Dall sheep populations.  The person who wrote me said it could be detrimental to her farming business, and she opposed the measure. Fish and Game told us that there was concern that domestic animals could introduce disease into wild animal populations but ultimately determined that they lacked jurisdiction over domestic animals. 
Minimum age for marriage :  We received a Facebook message asking about Alaska's policy on marriage following national reports on child marriage, including the fact that in Alaska children as young as 14 are permitted to marry with the permission of a superior court judge. We used the services of legislative research staff and the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) to research and decided to propose legislation setting the minimum age for marriage at 18, or approval of legal emancipation for those over 16. Emancipation requires a demonstration that the person can be self-supporting and approval by a judge.  
Legislative citations - Honorarium:  Legislators can honor people and organizations whose actions improve the quality of life in our state. One such person for whom we did a citation is Beau Basset.  His life's work has been working with at-risk youth, aged 12-18 years.  He was determined to help them gain skills in leadership, problem assessment and solving, public speaking, and teamwork.   
For the past twenty years, he ran the Alaska Points of Light Youth Leadership Institute. At the 20 th  Anniversary of the Institute, we presented him with the citation and gratitude of the entire legislature on behalf of the State of Alaska.   
I hope this gives you some idea of our process, and as always, invite you to share your concerns, ideas, and to let us try to help solve a problem with a government agency. 
I'm Berta and I'm listening,
Governor's Office