Dave Donaldson, APRN - Juneau
The bill now before the Senate Resources Committee has actually gotten bad reviews from those who previously supported the administration.
The Senate has begun learning about the bill setting up the development of a gas pipeline from the North Slope to South Central and the railbelt. The measure passed the House last month and had two hearings in its first committee of referral during the regular session. A re-written version returned today for the first time during the special session. And sponsors focused on explaining the needto restore many of the elements the Senate Community and Regional Affairs Committee had eliminated.
The special legislative session got underway Wednesday afternoon with a streamlined agenda. Lawmakers are considering three subjects, an in-state gas line from the North Slope to Southcentral, a bill strengthening the state’s sex crimes lawas, and a bill rewriting the state’s oil tax regime.
The Legislature made it to the end of its regular ninety-day session just after midnight this morning – passing and sending to the governor several dozen bills over the final two days. However, the issues seen as critical at the start of the session, turned out to be footnotes at the end.
It’s not what the governor wants – and it drew opposition from all sides.
Governor Sean Parnell says he will call Alaska lawmakers into special session if the Senate passes an oil tax bill by Sunday. The Session is under a statutory deadline to adjourn by that day, but with a key piece of legislation still pending in the Senate, Parnell says he wants to make sure the House has time to evaluate the version that emerges.
Alaskans are on their way to getting immunizations again. The Senate Wednesday passed a House bill reinstating the adult and children’s immunization program – at least temporarily. The program was disassembled in 2009. Nome Democrat Donnie Olson said federal funding has dropped by 84 percent and all adult vaccinations have be stopped – as well as many vaccinations offered to children.
The legislature Tuesday approved all but one of the people appointed by the governor to serve on state boards and commissions. Members also had no opposition to the choice of Michael Gerraghty to be the state’s next Attorney General.
Two bills that, combined, would give Alaskans some relief from high energy costs got jump starts today. A Senate bill would help meet short-term needs; a House bill would take a long-term approach.
A lot of major issues still haven't been finished, and lawmakers are starting to discuss the ease with which they could simply continue the session beyond Sunday night’s ninety-day statutory limit without needing to take any formal action or vote.