For the past couple of weeks, the legislature has been moving forward on the governor’s proposal to cut taxes on oil companies. Now, it’s scheduled to take up the issue of an in-state gasline.
Here’s the legislative outlook for the week.
In his State of the State address, Gov. Sean Parnell put his support behind an in-state gasline that would move natural gas from the North Slope through the Interior and then down to Southcentral Alaska. Today, a bill that would advance that project gets its first committee hearing.
The bill would give the Alaska Gasline Development Corporation more autonomy, sets out what pipeline information would be confidential, and establishes some financing mechanisms for the project. A similar bill passed in the House last year, but stalled in the Senate.
Also on Monday, a bill that would relax regulations on cruise ship discharge is scheduled for the House floor. On Tuesday, bills that would extend the Suicide Prevention Council for another six years and would create a fund for responding to invasive species will get their first committee hearings.
Later in the week, resolutions that express displeasure with President Barack Obama’s gun policy will be taken up by the judiciary committees in both chambers. The House Judiciary committee will also hear a version of the Stand Your Ground Law, which allows a person to react to a threat with deadly force without first trying to retreat. A number of states already have a similar policy in place, and the law received national attention after the shooting death of teenager Trayvon Martin in Florida.
The governor’s oil tax proposal continues to move through the Senate. A special committee on oil production plans to wrap up its hearings on the bill by the end of the week.
- Skagway School went through a restructuring this year. An influx in students enabled the school to create single-grade classrooms in the elementary school, increase Spanish and music classes, and start an accelerated learning program. It also opened space for three new teachers.
- El Nino has transitioned to below normal sea surface temperatures in the mid-latitude Pacific. If that persists, then the condition known as La Nina, typically results in a colder than normal winter for Alaska.
- The Alaska Mental Health Trust took its first step toward logging Ketchikan’s iconic Deer Mountain, along with a parcel in Petersburg.
- Two German sisters got a true Alaska experience through summer Rotary exchange.