Note from Rep. Gara: The Avoidable Special Session: Why the Governor’s Threat Against the Senate on Oil Taxes Didn’t Help Things.

Let me say this for the record. The Legislative session should have ended yesterday. I was willing to get all my work done, but in politics at the end of session the negotiations get taken over by a few of the highest ranking leaders – and roughly 50 of the 60 of us have no say other than the moral prodding we can offer those negotiators. That’s not to say who among the negotiators was at fault. But here’s what I do know, and what most of the media didn’t report.

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Note from Rep. Gara: End of Session Inching Closer. Or Not.

Sunday is the official end of session, but there have been tensions between the House Speaker – who gave a speech suggesting a possible extended session – and Senate leaders. Presently, since I have learned over the past nine years that I can’t change any of the minds that will make that decision, I’m walking around those folks in a ducking position and looking right and left a lot to make sure I don’t end up in crossfire.

Except – I did end up in crossfire yesterday, first in a fight over the Governor’s scholarship bill, and then on a last minute move that took increased K-12 education funding out of a bill last night.

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Governor Moves to Weaken Scholarship Bill

JUNEAU- Governor Sean Parnell is calling on the House of Representatives to remove an amendment to his merit scholarship bill that would allow more students to qualify for the scholarships. This week the House Finance Committee passed an amendment by Representative Les Gara (D-Anchorage) to give the Alaska Department of Education the discretion to allow the merit scholarship for students who take required courses after graduation or to GED students who otherwise prove high academic achievement.

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Legislature Requests TSA Hearings in Alaska

Air travel, airport procedures of upmost importance to Alaskans

JUNEAU – Today, fifty-nine of sixty members of the Alaska Legislature sent a letter to the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs requesting hearings be held in Alaska on the often invasive procedures used by the Transportation Safety Administration (TSA).

“Alaskans depend on air travel more than most other Americans,” said Rep. Max Gruenberg (D-Anchorage) who drafted the letter and gathered signatures from his colleagues in the State House. “The committee needs to hear from Alaskans about our unique concerns.”

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