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.
- A lawsuit filed in federal court this week seeks to remove the residency requirement for people gathering signatures for state ballot initiatives.
- For the second time in two years, a Skagway political figure has been ordered to pay a fine for incomplete financial disclosures. Assembly hopeful Dan Henry failed to disclose substantial debt on his candidate paperwork. He will still be able to run for office in the upcoming election.
- Administration officials have a mouthful of a name for it: the “capped hybrid head tax.” It's a flat 1.5 percent of wages and self-employment income, with a maximum of twice the value of that year's Alaska Permanent Fund dividend.
- A federal district court has sided with conservationists fighting to preserve the U.S. Forest Service's "roadless rule" that limits road building in national forests. Alaska conservationists opposed to expanded logging in Tongass National Forest hailed the ruling as a victory.