The Second Session of the 27th Alaska Legislature opens on Tuesday, and lawmakers already have a lot on their plates.
For starters, the debate over the state’s oil tax structure continues from last year’s session — and subsequent special sessions. Also on the docket are plans for natural gas pipelines, which may be competing or complimentary, and envision several different terminuses for North Slope gas.
Coastal zone management also lingers from last year after the Legislature and governor failed to reach an agreement that would extend the program. A ballot initiative is in the works should lawmakers fail to address the issue.
All of this is on top of the rest of the Legislature’s work, the priority of which is to pass operating and capital budgets — Something lawmakers also were unable to do in their allotted 90 days.
We expect quite a bit of work out of the people we elect to represent us in Juneau. We encourage them to roll up their sleeves and get to the people’s business from Day 1 of the session — 90 days goes by pretty fast, and April 15 will be here before we know it.
Meanwhile, for those of us observing from afar, let’s make sure our legislators know what our priorities for the session are. And let’s do it now, before there’s not enough time left in the session to address them. To reach our central Kenai Peninsula legislators:
* Sen. Tom Wagoner, District Q
Session contact: phone 907-465-2828; fax, 907-465-4779
* House Speaker Rep. Mike Chenault, District 34
Session contact: phone 907-465-3779; fax, 907-465-2833
* Rep. Kurt Olson, District 33
Session contact: phone 907-465-2693; fax, 907-465-3835
More information about the Legislature, including session schedules, additional contact and district information and status updates on legislation, is available at w3.legis.state.ak.us, or at the Kenai Legislative Information Office at 145 Main Street Loop in Kenai, 907-283-2030.
In short: The legislative session opens Tuesday. Let’s get to work.