(Haines) - House Finance Committee Co-chair Bill Thomas thanked Governor Sean Parnell for signing a pair of bills he sponsored last session into law recently. The governor signed House Bill 246 into law yesterday and HB 250 into law today.
As a veteran, I'm humbled that the communities would come forward with a plan like this to memorialize their heroes.
~ Rep. Bill Thomas
"It's gratifying that the governor took swift action to sign these bills into law," Thomas, R-Haines, said. "My staff and I worked hard on these bills. Thank you to my colleagues in the House and Senate for passage."
House Bill 246
HB 246 names 15 bridges after deceased U.S. Servicemen and an Eyak elder. It also names three Interior Alaska airports. 14 of the bridges are in and around Cordova, and the Harry Kito Bridge would be on the Mitkof Highway south of Petersburg. It also officially names the Klawock Airport after statesman Frank Peratrovich.
"Alaska has a strong sense of community and an appreciation for their neighbors who answer the call of duty," Thomas said. "As a veteran, I'm humbled that the communities would come forward with a plan like this to memorialize their heroes. It's a simple, yet poignant, reminder of the sacrifice they made for their hometown and country."
The servicemen are:
World War I
World War II
David Henry Elisovsky
David Allen Lape
Warren Allen Paulsen
Michael Dean Banta
The Interior airports named are in Koyukuk in Western Alaska and the Minto Airport west of Fairbanks. Rep. Alan Dick, R-Stony River, proposed a separate bill that was incorporated into HB 246. The Koyukuk airport is renamed the Koyukuk Station Veterans' Airport at the request of the community, and the Minto airport is renamed the Al Wright Airport after the long-time rural aviator. The Klawock airport is renamed the Frank Peratovich Airport after the husband of Alaska civil rights icon Elizabeth Peratovich.
"Alaska Natives have bravely and selflessly served their country for decades, and it's important to listen when they ask to memorialize their fallen friends and family like the villagers at Koyukuk," Dick said. "It will serve as a living reminder to everyone who travels through it of the pride the people have for those who sacrifice to protect them."
House Bill 250
HB 250 re-authorizes the Renewable Energy Grant Fund for 10 more years and continues the legislative intent to fund it at $50 million per year. The bill also made technical and functional changes to the fund and its advisory committee.
"Providing and promoting access to affordable energy was one of our caucus' guiding principles for the 27th Legislature, and HB 250 was right there at the top of the list," Thomas said. "The program has been a success, with demonstrated positive impacts in Gustavus and Cordova, to name a couple. It's critical we do what we can to help ease the budget-crippling costs for many Alaskans, and HB 250 is a great option to do that."
HB 250 takes effect immediately. HB 246 takes effect in 90 days.