Saturday, April 24, 2010

Legislative Wrap-Up

The second year of Alaska's 26th Legislative Session ended last week. It was a good session in some respects such as education forward funding and money allocated for schools in high need for replacement. We continue to be frustrated at the ability of one legislator, the chair of any given committee, to prevent a bill from moving. There have been two such "roadblocks" in the last session. Representative Kurt Olson, chair of House Labor and Commerce, refused to allow HB 30 out of his committee. Senator Bert Stedman, Co-chair of Senate Finance, refused to allow SB 23 out of his committee. This lack of action is unacceptable and we will redouble our efforts in the coming year to move forward in our quest to return all public employees to a reliable defined benefit retirement.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Spring Leadership

This year's Spring Leadership Conference was energizing! Members from across the state and presenters from across the country converged on the Hotel Captain Cook in Anchorage to learn and share. The majority of sectionals were offerings that had not been part of our training events in the past. New ways to look at bargaining and the role of local presidents were explored, as well as communications, organizational analysis skills, and minority leadership training were all included in the weekend. During a lunchtime presentation on Saturday, I tried my best to explain the alphabet soup and acronyms that are coming at us on a daily basis. It included such terms as ESEA, I3, RTTT, SIG, challenge schools, the four change models, and more. There is so much to keep track of and so much confusion that we felt it would be a good idea to help members try to make some sense of what's out there. I hope it was helpful.