OPINION: It is Time for Leadership and Compromise

Rep. Sam Kito

Juneau – Governor Bill Walker’s decision to call the Alaska State Legislature into a Second Special Session provided the spark needed to bring all sides to the table to negotiate a compromise budget to prevent a devastating government shutdown in Alaska. Passage of the budget Thursday night means the ferries will continue running, commercial fisheries can go on uninterrupted, and State Troopers will still be available to respond to emergencies. Preventing a government shutdown was of the utmost importance but there is more work to do to secure a stable economic future for Alaska.

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NEWS: House Moves to Prevent Government Shutdown with Passage of Combined Operating and Capital Budgets

Juneau – Tonight, to avoid a government shutdown at the beginning of the month, the Alaska House of Representatives passed a combined Capital and Operating Budget for Fiscal Year 2018. The House budgets reverse the Senate’s $69 million cut to K-12 education and most of the cut to the University of Alaska. Additionally, the Capital Budget restored the full amount of expected Permanent Fund Dividends, which will be paid in the fall to eligible Alaskans.

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NEWS: The House is Waiting for Progress in the State Senate

Juneau – The leadership of the Alaska House Majority Coalition has decided to hold a limited number of technical floor sessions for the remainder of the week to allow House members to travel back to their home districts for the Memorial Day Holiday. This will allow members to engage with constituents about the important issues under consideration during the Special Session called by Alaska Governor Bill Walker. Allowing lawmakers to go home also saves the state money since lawmakers will not be collecting per diem in their home districts.

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NEWS: Resources Committee Co-chairs will Lead Effort to Reform Unsustainable Oil Industry Subsidies

Juneau – On Monday, Speaker of the House Rep. Bryce Edgmon (D-Dillingham) appointed House members to negotiate a compromise on legislation to reform Alaska’s unsustainable oil tax credit system that passed both the House and Senate. House Resources Committee Co-chairs Rep. Geran Tarr (D-Anchorage) and Rep. Andy Josephson (D-Anchorage) will represent the House Majority on the conference committee. The House Minority will be represented by Rep. Dave Talerico (R-Healy). The State Senate is expected to appoint their members to the conference committee on Wednesday.

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NEWS: Lawmakers Must Use the First Special Session to Focus on Alaska’s Fiscal Future

Juneau – The First Regular Session of the 30th Alaska State Legislature ended tonight with clear differences between the Alaska House Majority Coalition and the Alaska Senate Majority on the need for a comprehensive fiscal plan to address the ongoing recession and the $2.7 billion budget gap. Both majority organizations wanted the ten-day extension allowed for in the Alaska Constitution, but the House Republican Caucus refused to provide enough votes in favor. In response, Governor Bill Walker is calling the Alaska Legislature into a Special Session to start on Thursday. 

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NEWS: House Passes Bill to Allow a New Type of Corporation in Alaska

Rep. Sam Kito

Juneau – Today, the Alaska House of Representatives approved legislation to allow benefit corporations to operate in Alaska. Benefit corporations are for profit organizations that incorporate public benefits and community improvements into their business model. House Bill 124, sponsored by Representative Sam Kito (D-Juneau), would bring Alaska’s corporate law in line with thirty-one other states that have passed benefit corporation legislation.

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