House Democrats Present Plan to End Special Session

Dave Donaldson, APRN – Juneau

Thursday, House Democrats made public a plan that would successfully end the special legislative session – now as the end of its 11th day.

The Senate and the governor are at odds over the governor’s recent threats to use his line-item veto on capital projects in the districts of Senators who did not support the administration’s oil tax reduction plan.  The governor says contingency language in the Senate’s budget bill takes away that line-item veto power.

Anchorage’s Mike Doogan suggested three simple steps to resolving the dispute.  He says the governor needs to back down from threatening to veto projects based on oil taxes – the senate needs to withdraw the contingency language that threatens the governor, and the governor, the House and the Senate need to go over the capital projects in the budget to decide in advance which of them have merit.

“And that’s it.  Sorry that it’s that simple, but it is that simple,” Doogan said. “And if everyone could do their part and stop this – which I can only characterize as – bickering that’s going on about this, we could be out of here in two days, maybe three.”

Anchorage Democrat Les Gara said the House Finance Committee – of which he is a member – needs to be at work reviewing the controversial energy-related projects in the capital budget instead of going to Anchorage on Friday for hearings that do not advance resolution of the differences.

“And instead of pretending that we don’t know what these projects are about we’ve had the ;ast two weeks that we could have been holding hearings on them,” Gara said. “And we should move ahead and vet the projects.  We can do that in the Finance Committee, we know what the projects are.”

“We could have been holding hearings, we should hold hearings, and we should get this resolved as soon as possible instead of pointing fingers back and forth.”

For his part, the governor’s staff today commented that the governor has assured the Senate President and Co-chairs that he will not abuse his line-item veto authority.

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