Senator Lisa Murkowski tops the events scheduled before the legislature this week. She will present her annual address to the legislature Thursday morning. But the rest of the session’s work will continue around her visit. Some of the House Finance subcommittees focusing on the budgets of executive branch departments will begin their final actions this week. That could put a complete operating budget up for a House vote right on schedule — the first part of March.
The Senate Resources Committee will continue laying the foundation for a bill making changes to the state’s oil tax regime. Members plan to hear from consultants, companies and commissioners this week. Once the Resources committee finishes its job, the bill will go to the Senate Finance Committee.
Several higher profile bills will be in committee this week. One is seen as the most optimistic bill of the session. It foresees the construction of a gas line from the North Slope to Alaska markets and asks, What then? Fairbanks Senator Joe Thomas and North Pole Representative Tammy Wilson have bill that would let the state lend money so people can convert to natural gas from oil or other fuels.
Another bill, by Anchorage Democrat Berta Gardner, would require oil companies to make public details of the expenditures for which they get state tax credits or incentives.
And the week at the capitol ends with a Juneau meeting of the Ethics Committee – where members of the Senate subcommittee have already scheduled a closed door session.