Alaska Governor Sarah Palin on May 25, 2009 officially requested a federal declaration of disaster for the spring 2009 floods which devastated the state’s interior (Declaration, 2009, Â¶1). FEMA’s data concurs with the state’s assessment that the threshold for federal disaster declaration was met (Declaration, 2009, Â¶2). The floods left hundreds of people homeless, destroyed 300 buildings and miles of roads (Declaration, 2009, Â¶3).
“Multiple state agencies are working together to help recovery efforts move as quickly and as smoothly as possible. The Department of Environmental Conservation is testing water and the Department of Health and Social Services is giving tetanus shots to workers to help keep people safe. The Department of Transportation and Public Facilities is rebuilding roads and the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs is providing all of the logistical support to provide potable water, food, and lines of communication” (Declaration, 2009, Â¶4)
The disaster declaration was executed in Faibanks. Governor Palin signed nine bills as part of her Memorial Day trip there and to North Pole.
In Fairbanks, Governor Palin next read her Memorial Day proclamation previously posted here. She then signed Senate Bill 45 (SB45) and House Joint Resolution 10 (HJR10). SB45 “sponsored by Senators Gene Therriault and Charlie Huggins, directs the [Alaska] Department of Military and Veterans Affairs to pursue the creation of a U.S. Department of Military and Veterans Affairs-approved cemetery where veterans can receive their full burial rights (Nine Bills, 2009, Â¶1). HJR10 is a resolution urging the US Congress to improve health care for veterans (HJR10, 2009, Â¶1).
Following is a partial listing of bills signed:
Senate Bill 142, sponsored by Senator Joe Paskvan, transfers five acres of land from the Alaska Railroad to the Department of Transportation and Public Facilities. This will allow the state to reconstruct Illinois Street, which provides primary access to downtown Fairbanks (Nine Bills, 2009, Â¶4).
Senate Bill 114, sponsored by Senator Paskvan, extends the State Board of Registration for Architects, Engineers, and Land Surveyors until June 30, 2017 (Nine Bills, 2009, Â¶5).
Senate Bill 133, sponsored by Senator Paskvan, modernizes Alaska’s health care IT infrastructure by developing a secure electronic Health Information Exchange system to improve the safety, cost-effectiveness, and quality of health care in Alaska (Nine Bills, 2009, Â¶6).
Senate Bill 48, sponsored by Senator Therriault, exempts municipal service area boards from the requirements of conducting meetings open to the public when a meeting is administrative or managerial in nature (Nine Bills, 2009, Â¶7).
House Bill 121, sponsored by Representative John Coghill, requires the Department of Transportation and Public Facilities to retrofit, where cost-effective, all public facilities within 15 years of the completion of an energy use index database (Nine Bills, 2009, Â¶8).
Senate Bill 170, sponsored by Senator Johnny Ellis, modifies the Alaska unemployment insurance statutes by redefining the base period for determining eligibility for unemployment benefits, relating to contributions, interest, penalties, and payments under the Alaska Employment Security Act (Nine Bills, 2009, Â¶9).
House Bill 177, sponsored by Representative Coghill, implements consumer protection for ATVs, snowmobiles, boat motors, and other recreational vehicles. HB 177 requires a manufacturer to replace a defective product or refund the price of the product if the product is unusable by the purchaser for more than 30 days in the first year of the purchase (Nine Bills, 2009, Â¶10).
Most elected officials content themselves to give a speech at Memorial Day parade or service or other related proceeding. But Governor Palin was working, not just speechifying. First, after being satisfied that the conditions for a federal disaster declaration were met for the state’s flooded interior, she officially requested one. She then went on a bill-signing tour in Fairbanks and North Pole. The Governor’s tweets on her Twitter page, indicate that more bills may have been signed than listed above; therefore, this entry should be considered a partial list. The bills are self-explanatory and do not require further belaboring, but to a one they are bills that will make a positive difference in the lives of the people who live in Alaska.
The signing of SB45 — creating a veteran’s cemetery — executes the Governor’s commitment to veterans beyond mere words. Governor Palin also issued a tweet re-affirming her position that missile defense should not be cut, following the widely reported underground nuclear weapons test conducted by North Korea on May 25, 2009 (Lee, 2009). If North Korea were to do something untoward involving the United States, Alaska would be the first line of defense…..
Governor Palin Honors Veterans on Memorial Day. (2009, May 25). State of Alaska, Governor. Retrieved May 26, 2009 from: http://www.gov.state.ak.us/news.php?id=1866
Governor Palin requests federal disaster declaration: 2009 spring floods one of worst seasons on record. (2009, May 25). State of Alaska, Governor. Retrieved May 26, 2009 from: http://www.gov.state.ak.us/news.php?id=1865
HJR 10. (2009, May 21). State of Alaska, Legislature. Retrieved May 26, 2009 from: http://www.legis.state.ak.us/basis/get_bill.asp?bill=HJR%2010&session=26
Lee, J.H. (2009, May 25). “Defying world powers, N. Korea conducts nuke test.” Associated Press. Retrieved May 26, 2009 from: http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id=D98DCSF00&show_article=1