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House approves closed meeting provision

Posted: Monday, April 14, 2003

JUNEAU (AP) The Legislature could go behind closed doors to talk about homeland security concerns under a measure passed in the House on Monday.

House Concurrent Resolution 7 adds homeland security to the list of reasons lawmakers may meet in executive session. Under provisions of the measure, lawmakers may meet behind closed doors to talk about issues affecting the security of the state, nation or a governmental agency.

Rep. Bruce Weyhrauch, R-Juneau, is the sponsor of the measure. He said lawmakers are expected to rarely invoke the rule allowing for closed meetings to talk about security concerns.

The Legislature can already meet in executive session to discuss sensitive financial issues, personnel matters and a myriad of other topics deemed classified in statute or regulations.

Homeland security was of particular concern in Alaska since the state's trans-Alaska pipeline provides about 17 percent of the nation's domestic oil supply.

House Minority Leader Ethan Berkowitz, D-Anchorage, also spoke in favor of the measure. It passed 36-0 and now goes to the Senate for consideration.



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