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ANCHORAGE – The third Special Session of the 29th Alaska Legislature is scheduled to start Saturday morning with House and Senate floor sessions. Governor Bill Walker has scheduled a briefing for all lawmakers Saturday afternoon to outline the details of the three pieces of legislation that will be under consideration. The members of the Alaska Independent Democratic Coalition (AIDC) are looking forward to the Governor’s detailed briefing but are dismayed by today’s announcement from the Senate President and the Speaker of the House that members of the House Finance and Senate Resources Committee’s will be encouraged to skip the briefing in favor of committee hearings on the same subjects at the same exact time as the Governor’s briefing.
“The Governor is trying to make sure all lawmakers are informed so they can make good decisions about a natural gas pipeline project that can be one of the pillars of our future economy,” said AIDC Leader Rep. Chris Tuck (D-Anchorage). “Holding committee hearings without all the information can only result in bad decisions. I hope the Speaker and Senate President will reconsider and allow all lawmakers to attend the special session briefing.”
Governor Walker has reserved five hours Saturday afternoon at Centennial Hall in Juneau to present detailed information to all 60 lawmakers on the three items under consideration in the upcoming special session. Those items include legislation to encourage producers to commit gas to the Alaska LNG project, buyout TransCanada’s equity position in the project, and fund continued work on the project.
“I think it is wrong to point fingers at the Governor before the special session even starts,” said House Finance Committee member Rep. Les Gara (D-Anchorage). “The gasline is crucial to the future of Alaska. It’s not rocket science to figure out the issues while in special session if we all do our work.”
The House and Senate are scheduled to convene the third Special Session of the 29th Alaska Legislature Saturday with simultaneous floor sessions at 11 am. Governor Walker’s briefing for all lawmakers is scheduled for 1 pm. At the exact same time, the House Finance Committee and the Senate Resources Committee are scheduled to hold hearings on the Governors legislation.