Gov. Mike Dunleavy spent part of the long weekend in Kodiak for two bill signings. The governor’s first stop on Sunday was Kodiak High School – where he signed Senate Bill 20 into law. The legislation was sponsored by state Sen. Gary Stevens, a Republican from Kodiak.
Stevens said the bill cuts red tape for teachers relocating to Alaska. Teachers from the Lower 48 still need to meet certain state-specific requirements. But the bill extends reciprocity for valid teaching certificates from other states. And it also expedites the process of becoming an Alaska educator for active duty military spouses who hold valid teaching certificates from another state.
The legislation would incur a one-time cost of $6,000, according to the bill’s fiscal note, for the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development to make regulatory changes.
Speaking to a small crowd that included the superintendent of Kodiak’s school district and several teachers – including a group of recently arrived educators from the Philippines – Stevens said the bill was a step toward getting more teachers into the classroom.
“It faces the problem that we have long had in our school districts – even here in Kodiak – and that’s the shortage of teachers,” said Stevens. “And also the barriers that we have built up over time to entering into teaching.”
Later that afternoon – and a few blocks away – the governor also signed House Bill 308 into law at Kodiak’s Senior Center. That bill – sponsored by House Speaker Louise Stutes, R-Kodiak – creates a full time position and a dedicated program within the Department of Health to address early detection and diagnosis of Alzheimer’s and dementia. Funding for the bill was included in the state budget for Fiscal Year 2023.
Stutes said the legislation raises awareness statewide for cognitive diseases.
“Hopefully someday there will be a cure for Alzheimer’s. But in the meantime we need to pay attention, we need to educate our caregivers and the public and our first responders,” said Stutes.
Both bills overwhelmingly passed the House and the Senate at the end of the last legislative session back in May – and Stutes’s bill goes into effect immediately.
The next regular legislative session starts in January.