The Seward Phoenix Log - News of the Eastern Kenai Peninsula since 1966

By LOG Staff 

State legislature ends 2013 session

 


The 28th Alaska State Legislature finished its work late Sunday with the customary eleventh hour passage of several bills and the state budgets.

The legislation that changes how oil extracted in the state is taxed, Senate Bill 21, passed the House in the wee hours Sunday morning by a vote of 27 yeah and 12 nay. The bill then went back to the Senate for their examination of the amendments made by the House. The Senate approved amended bill with a 12 to 8 vote Sunday afternoon. The legislation is in the governor’s hands for signature.

The bill, sponsored by Gov. Sean Parnell, reduces taxes on oil taken from the ground in Alaska. Proponents assert that the reduction in taxes would induce the oil extraction companies to increase production. The oil extraction companies have stated that the tax reduction isn’t sufficient to guarantee further corporate investment in production. Opponents voice concerns that the reduction cuts too deeply into the amount of money needed to run the government and state services such as education.

On Friday, House Bill 4 to fund and further empower the Alaska Gasline Development Corporation passed the Senate after earlier passing the House and has moved on to the governor for signature. The corporation is charged with getting Alaska’s natural gas to Alaskan utilities and consumers. HB 4 provides AGDC the authority and resources to engineer a 500 million cubic feet per day gas pipeline from the North Slope, serving Fairbanks and Southcentral Alaska. AGDC has acquired most right-of-way agreements and permits necessary to the pipeline and is moving into field surveys and developing engineering plans. The agency expects to deliver a pipeline route and design ready for immediate construction by the end of 2014 with initial gas delivery by 2019.

A bill intended to reduce domestic violence and sexual assault unanimously passed the House last week and now moves on to the governor. Senate Bill 22 would increase penalties for some sex crimes, put more investigative tools in the hands of prosecutors and allow the state to oversee people who have been served protective orders.

A “stand your ground” bill passed both legislative bodies and awaits the governor’s signature. House Bill 24 allows people to defend themselves if they are at a place they have a right to be.

The bill that would exempt from federal regulation certain firearms and firearm accessories and provide penalties for federal officials who enforce, or attempt to enforce, a federal law, regulation, rule or order regulating certain firearms and accessories in Alaska passed the Senate last week and now moves to the governor for signature. House Bill 69 has been criticized as being contrary to the U.S. Constitution. Proponents assert that the law would strengthen the second amendment to the U.S. Constitution which establishes the right to bear arms.

Budgets

Both legislative bodies passed the $9.9 billion operating budget (HB 65). The budget bill moves on to the govenor who has line-item veto power.

The capital budget of $2.2 billion also passed both houses (SB 18). It also moves on to the governor for sign off.

Some items included in the capital budget that affect East Peninsula area are:

Kenai Peninsula Borough - Seward Bear Creek Flood Mitigation, $1,000,000.

• Seward - Lowell Canyon Water Tank Refurbishment, $575,000.

• Seward - Seward Marine Industrial Center/ Homeport Coastal Villages Region Fund’s Fleet Alaska Project, $10,000,000.

Alaska SeaLife Center Critical Building and Equipment Repairs, Upgrades and Replacements, $450,000.

• Cooper Landing Emergency Services - Fire Tanker, $340,000.

• Seward - Spring Creek Correctional Center Deferred Maintenance, $1,525,000.

AVTEC Heavy Equipment Shop/Diesel Shop/Pipe Welding Relocation, phase 1 of 3, $6,000,000.

AVTEC Deferred Maintenance, Renewal, Repair and Equipment, $986,000.

• Seward Highway - Avalanche Detection Project, $400,000.

Information and Contacts

Information about all the legislation introduced this year is online at w3.legis.state.ak.us. Click the “Bills and Laws” link.

Seward’s Legislative Information Office can also help citizens who want to know about legislation. Marianna Keil of the LIO can help people find out about the legislature’s bills. She will email information to those who want something specific, or prepare printouts for those without internet access. Citizens can participate in teleconferences with legislators or contact legislators through the LIO. The Seward LIO is open weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. in Seaview Plaza at 302 Railway, 224-5066.

East Peninsula legislators can be contacted at:

Rep. Mike Chenault, 145 Main Street Loop, Room 223, Kenai, AK 99611, 907-283-7223, Representative.Mike.Chenault@akleg.gov.

Sen. Cathy Giessel, 716 W. Fourth Ave., Anchorage, AK 99501, 907-269-0181, Senator.Cathy.Giessel@akleg.gov.

 

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