More Bills Added to the Session for This Year

Legislators have released the details of more new bills going before the legislature that convenes next week.   The twenty eight new bills will join those left over from last year – and those introduced last week.

The latest bundle of bills ranges from a measure by Dillingham’s Bryce Edgmon that would allow fishermen to borrow up to $200-thousand to purchase commercial fishing entry permits – to one by Fairbanks’ Joe Thomas creating a loan program for consumers to convert their homes to natural gas-fired heating systems.  That comes as railbelt residents begin  to see a natural gas pipeline in their future.

Thomas also wants to provide ten years of rent-free state land for high-capacity gas storage facilities.

Anchorage Democrat Berta Gardner has proposed two bills in the House requiring oil and gas companies to tell the public what they did to earn any state tax credits.  Gardner says people have asked what the state has gotten in return for more than $3-Billion in investments paid for with tax credits since the current tax regime went into effect.

I don’t know.  But I think Alaskans should know, just like every penny that comes through my office or that I spend on travel or whatever,  is publicly available.   The industry, of course, likes to keep their affairs private,  of course they do;  but I’m not saying shame on them for this.  I’m saying shame on us.

Gardner isn’t looking for expense details.  Her bill mandating job reports that are claimed for credits would only require release of workforce numbers – not individuals or their exact duties.

Democrats Les Gara and David Guttenberg have a bill that would reduce student loans by two percent while students work in the state after graduation.   Gara said something’s wrong when student loans are double the cost of a used car loan.

And Anchorage Republican Bob Lynn wants to require health insurance for retired state employees to cover the cost of colorectal screening.   He said the cost of treatment would be lower because any cancer caught early is less expensive to treat.

These new bills will formally be read into the record Tuesday afternoon when the House and Senate begin their ninety day sessions.

For a list of all the bills released today, click here.

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