After sitting in limbo for nearly a year, a controversial permitting bill is on the move again. House Bill 77 has been sent back to the Senate Resources Committee, and it’s scheduled for hearings on Monday and Wednesday.
Gov. Sean Parnell introduced last session, and he pitched it as a way of reducing the permitting backlog. But tribal organizations, fishing groups, and environmental outfits came out strongly against it. They argued it would limit public involvement in land management decisions and give the natural resources commissioner blanket authority to issue general permits. The governor has expressed willingness to remove some of the more contentious provisions to allow the bill to advance.
The bill has already passed the House, and but was unable to get enough votes in the Senate in its current form.
- "Her focus on education, her focus on examining our city budget at a really deep level, not just a broad stroke policy level, but getting into the line items – I think that’s a really valuable for assembly members to go after the budget work," said Deputy Mayor Jesse Kiehl.
- Rep. Les Gara wants to make sure state budget cuts don’t fall too heavily on working-class and low-income people. Instead, he wants a new business tax.
- The Legislative Council is seeking advice from a finance expert on what to do about the controversial lease on the Anchorage Legislative Information Office.
- For the first time, scientists have documented the prevalence of two biotoxins in Alaska’s marine mammal population above the Arctic Circle.