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New Year, New Session 2022

Happy New Year and new Legislative Session from The Alaska Center. We anticipate both opportunity and struggle in the year ahead, another year in the lifetime work of protecting and nurturing our Democracy and saving our home from the ravages of climate change.   The 2022 legislative session will likely be consumed with election-year grandstanding antics. We already see some of …

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Leg With Louie: Summer Homework 2021

This letter will be shorter than usual. I am busy getting intimate with the boat engine and hydraulic system, with typical pre-season nerves and an ear for rumors of the impending Salmon run.    The news here comes in snippets and is often less real and immediate than the rust frozen bolt that stands between me and a functioning boat (there …

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Leg with Louie: Where are the missing AEA projects?

Action on the state budget is happening quietly, if at all, with the thorny issue of the Permanent Fund Dividend once again asserting its ability to cause rational minds to diverge sharply. It is a fascinating debate. Likely much less fascinating if you are one of the state workers already getting emails that you will be laid off if the …

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Leg With Louie: Who Benefits? – May 21

Conference committees established under Legislative Uniform Rule 42 are as natural to the legislative process as cottonwood buds are to spring. The state’s operating budget always goes to the conference committee, marking the closure of the regular session. These six-member (three-House, three-Senate) committees settle disagreements between bodies on big-ticket bills. The members seated on the committee generally are not there …

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Leg with Louie: Bring Back the Legislative Softball League – May 14

Let’s drop the pretense that the state legislature will ever get business done in 90 days. The idea was questionable to begin with. Concocted by business-owner legislators who wanted the legislature to run with more efficiency so they could dispatch with budgets and get back home to their burger joints, hotels, fishing operations etc. An admirable goal in the abstract, …

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Leg With Louie: “to hell with politics, just do what’s right for Alaska” – May 7

There are two resolutions under consideration in the legislature as the House and Senate wend their way toward what will be a messy and confused terminus of the regular session. The likely  special session will focus on the Permanent Fund Dividend and federal American Rescue Plan funds. The resolutions are SJR 13 and HJR 19. Both are designed to clarify …

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Leg With Louie: Another DNR Power Grab – April 30

Did you know that under HB 82, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) would be able to authorize lateral drilling and fracking for oil and gas development beneath all of the areas that the state legislature has specifically set aside for special protection? This includes State Game Sanctuaries, State Game Refuges, State Parks, and State Critical Habitat Areas. Lateral drilling …

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Leg With Louie: A Green Bank in a Bill Made Better

HB 170 proposes to create an Energy Independence Program and Fund administered by the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority. This bill, and its Senate companion, SB 123, would be Alaska’s first attempt at forming a Green Bank. In general terms, a Green Bank is a public, quasi-public or non-profit entity explicitly established to facilitate private investment into domestic low-carbon, …

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Leg With Louie: Next Week Reviewed, with Editorial Comments – April 16

For certain dorks, like myself, 4:00 p.m. on Thursday afternoon can be fraught with expectation. That is when the upcoming week’s schedule comes out. Under legislative rules, all committee hearing notices must be at the legislative Clerk’s office by 4 p.m. at the latest to be noticed for the next week. If you miss this cut-off time, you are, as …

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Leg With Louie: Building Alaska Better – April 2

After the intellectual, moral, racial, political, and physical trauma of 2020, this year is starting to look OK, like a new day and not a false dawn. The monumental federal investments proposed by the Biden-Harris Administration in Pittsburgh on Wednesday are smart and just and envision a modern America we might be OK sending our kids off into. The Thrive …