session of the 27th Alaska Legislature kicked off last week. Senate
President Gary Stevens of Kodiak said the top issues will be the items that
caused so many problems in the legislature last year.
save the Coastal Management Program passed the senate, but failed in the house.
Meanwhile the governor's plan to reduce the tax on oil companies by up to $2 billion a year
passed the state house, but went nowhere in the senate.
-- (Stevens 1 43 sec "You know I think we all realize ... forgive in taxes.")
said the issue the senate majority had with the tax giveaway is there was no
guarantee in the governor's bill that the oil companies will respond with more
exploration or development.
As far as
coastal management goes, Stevens thinks the initiative process the Alaska Sea
Party has initiated will be more successful than waiting for the house to find
-- (Stevens 2 30 sec "I think we did all we could ... headed in the right
direction on that.")
issue Stevens says the senate is working on is trying to pay down the unfunded
liability in the state and school employee retirement systems, known as PERS
-- (Stevens 3 30 sec "We own, now it's
increased ... a pretty remarkable thing.")
never a fan of the shortened 90-day legislative sessions that voters instituted
several years ago, last year proposed to have staggered sessions, alternating
between 90 days one year and 120 days the next, but he is no longer pursuing
-- (Stevens 4 39 sec "That's right, I have dropped it ... will not happen this
says the North Slope natural gas line plan is stalled because of the low prices
for the product in the Lower 48. He said he doesn't see a pipeline through
Canada being built any time soon, however others are exploring a plan to bring
gas to tidewater and ship it overseas as liquefied natural gas, or LNG.