3 things to watch for in the Alaska Legislature

Published on NewsOK Modified: April 7, 2013 at 5:04 pm •  Published: April 7, 2013
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"At some point, you're either competitive or you're not," Feige, R-Chickaloon, told a news conference Friday. "And as I've told members of the press, all of you, the worst nightmare I have is that we don't lower it enough. We lower it just enough so that we've given up tax revenue, but we haven't lowered it enough to get investment into the state."

The bill is in the House Finance Committee. Assuming it passes the House, the Senate will either have to agree to changes made on that side or the bill will go to a conference committee, where House and Senate negotiators will try to iron out their differences.

— EDUCATION: Legislative leaders last week said they're still discussing the potential for additional education funding. Some Republican lawmakers, as well as Parnell, have been reluctant to support automatic increases in the base-student allocation, the amount the state guarantees districts for every student enrolled.

Just what a package might look like remained murky, though lawmakers said they planned to do something to help districts meet rising costs.

"There are truly members that think that we should not increase education funding until we have accountability and as I've explained to them, I'm OK with accountability, but you have to be able to tell them what you want so that they know what to go out and produce," House Speaker Mike Chenault, R-Nikiski, told reporters Friday. "And if we can't tell them what (we) want, then how do we hold back that funding?"

House and Senate leaders have said they plan to study the issue of education funding during the interim. Similar plans on the House side last year went nowhere.

— HOUSE AND SENATE FINANCE: Both committees are in the midst of hearing the last remaining big bills this session. House Finance has oil taxes and the capital budget. Senate Finance has the in-state gas line bill.

Both have a number of other bills in their queue but none of the pending bills — in those committees or others — will die at the end of session. Instead, they will carry over to next year.

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Follow Becky Bohrer on Twitter at http://twitter.com/beckybohrerap

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For more on the Legislature's weekly schedule: http://w3.legis.state.ak.us



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