Bill Signed to Cut Rates At State Pioneer Homes

Category: Local News
Created on Thursday, 30 April 2020 16:38

The Alaska Legislature Wednesday unanimously passed and the governor signed into law HB96, a bill lowering Pioneer Home and Veteran Home rates and limiting future rate increases to inflation.

The bill reverses massive rate increases imposed by the Department of Health and Social Services last fall.

“This new law will provide stable and affordable housing for Alaska’s elders – the men and women who built our great state,” said Senate President Cathy Giessel (R-Anchorage), a co-sponsor of the bill, in a joint press release by the Legislature.

“After serving their state and country, our pioneers and veterans have earned security and peace of mind, and this bill provides it,” said Rep. Laddie Shaw (R-Anchorage), who co-managed the bill on the House floor. Shaw also established the Palmer home as the first Veterans Home during his tenure as director of Veterans Affairs during the Knowles Administration.

“House Bill 96 sends a clear message that the Legislature intends to protect the Pioneer Home system for the next hundred years,” said Rep. Zack Fields (D-Anchorage), also a co-sponsor.

Alaskans established the first Pioneer Home in 1913, in Sitka. Over the last century, the system has been expanded to include homes in Anchorage, Ketchikan, Fairbanks, Palmer and Juneau. The homes allow seniors to remain in their communities, and are often are the only providers of critical dementia care, the press release noted.