2019 Legislative Statement

Associated General Contractors of Alaska
2019 Legislative Statement

By Alicia Siira, AGC executive director,
and Meg Nordale and Regina Daniels,
co-chairs of the AGC Legislative Affairs Committee

AGC of Alaska works as a liaison between construction industry members and elected officials, and each year our organization adopts legislative priorities seeking to benefit our state and our industry, which is a top-tier employer in Alaska. The tune from AGC remains the same as it has in recent years: Invest in Alaska by adopting a capital budget and addressing deferred maintenance projects. In the face of a capital budget that continues to be strained, we continue to believe the investments the state makes through the capital budget demonstrate confidence and optimism from state leaders. It’s a clear indication of whether Alaska is or isn’t open for business. With a new administration, we have an optimistic outlook. We hope to tap into the cooperative spirit of Alaskans and work together to advance our great state.

During the AGC Annual Conference in November, the Legislative Affairs Committee (LAC) hosted a “2019 Legislative Priorities” session to seek input on the items of importance from AGC members regarding the state of Alaska. Through this interactive discussion, the LAC and AGC executive board identified and approved the top three priorities which AGC will take to Juneau this legislative session.

Our top priority is to ensure the State of Alaska’s fiscal plan includes strategies to support, enhance and diversify Alaska’s private economy by promoting and attracting investment for infrastructure. The construction industry has been significantly affected by the lack of a capital budget for the past several years. AGC of Alaska members have not had the opportunity to maximize the productivity of their workforce due to this lack of work. The work of our membership benefits Alaska’s economy in many ways. AGC of Alaska requests that legislators prioritize funding for a capital budget and deferred maintenance program and maximize state match funds for federally funded projects.

Alaska’s workers’ compensation insurance rates rank among the highest in the nation, affecting every employer in the state and making Alaska less competitive in creating and maintaining jobs. The recent rate reductions were due to the industry’s efforts in reducing workplace injuries and mandating safety as an extremely important part of the workplace culture. We support comprehensive reform to the Alaska workers’ compensation statutes which emphasizes effective injury treatment and promotes injury recovery and returning Alaska’s workers to full employment quickly.

Key reform points include:
• Vocational rehabilitation benefits.
• Adhere to statutory requirements in relation to attorney fees.
• Focus on proven outcome-based treatment.
• Claims adjudication process review.
• Address opioid abuse, prescription drug abuse.

Our third and final focus is responsible development for all of Alaska’s industries, to include review of those legacy projects that support construction and the overall economy of Alaska. AGC of Alaska supports a significant increase in responsible natural resource development and encourages the Alaska legislature and the administration to uphold Alaska’s regulatory and permitting laws and policies to facilitate additional exploration, site development, employment, infrastructure, research and natural resource production in our state.

To that end, AGC of Alaska suggests addressing a term limit on any permit review process and establishing timelines and/or maximum length of time for those permit term limits. We also request legislative support of legacy projects, recognizing the state’s investment thus far and ensuring those investments are not wasted. We request state leaders maximize the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority and other private/public partnership opportunities to promote and support resource development. We also support private investment in state projects, especially those viewed as high-risk investments.

If you are interested in helping deliver our message at the annual AGC Legislative Fly-In, please mark your calendar for Feb. 5-6, 2019, and email margaret@agcak.org.