Alaska House fixes last year’s mistakes, approves annual revisor’s bill

The Alaska House has voted to correct itself.

In a 36-0 vote Wednesday morning, lawmakers approved House Bill 77, the annual revisor’s bill that corrects technical faults in legislation passed the previous year.

“This bill does not make any policy changes. It’s essentially a cleanup,” said Rep. Matt Claman, D-Anchorage and chairman of the House Judiciary Committee.

The bill now moves to the Senate for what is expected to be an uncontroversial committee process and floor vote. It becomes law once approved by the Senate and Gov. Bill Walker.

In Wednesday’s Senate floor session, senators received Senate Bill 3, which calls for eliminating the 1 percent for art program on the two new Alaska-class ferries under construction in Ketchikan. SB 3 would also renew the ferry system’s exemption from the state’s wastewater rules; the ferries have traditionally been exempted from those rules because of their age and the cost of meeting the standards, but the exemption expired in 2016.

SB 3 is scheduled for a vote Friday.

In committee action Wednesday:

• Senate Resolution 3, declaring February 2017 as Black History Month, was approved by the Senate Education Committee. SR 3, introduced by Sen. Tom Begich, D-Anchorage, now goes to the Senate State Affairs Committee.

• Senate Bill 6, legalizing a state hemp industry and separating that industry from marijuana regulation, was approved by the Senate Resources Committee. SB 6, sponsored by Sen. Shelley Hughes, R-Palmer, goes to the Senate Judiciary Committee next. If approved there, it goes to a vote of the full Senate. It must also be approved by the House and the governor to become law.

• The Senate Finance Committee approved Senate Bill 9, sending it to the Senate floor for a vote that could come as early as Friday, but is more likely to happen Monday. SB 9, sponsored by Sen. John Coghill, R-North Pole, allows the state adjutant general to designate “military facility zones” for economic development in areas outside of municipalities. Currently, the zones are restricted to municipalities with comprehensive plans.

• Senate Bill 32, sponsored by Sen. Shelley Hughes, R-Palmer, allows pharmacists to prescribe generic versions of “biological products” as well as drugs. While pharmacists can already prescribe generic equivalents of drugs, they can’t prescribe generic equivalents of things like insulin, which are produced biologically. SB 32, which now advances to the Senate Labor and Commerce Committee, would allow that to happen.

• Senate Bill 36, a measure allowing optometrists to perform some services now done solely by ophthalmologists, was approved by the Senate Health and Social Services Committee. Sponsored by Sen. Cathy Giessel, R-Anchorage, it advances to the Senate Finance Committee.

• Alaska will follow the requirements of federal law with regard to domestic violence protection orders if House Bill 8 is approved by the Legislature. Sponsored by Speaker of the House Bryce Edgmon, D-Dillingham, it passed the House Judiciary Committee and could appear on the House floor as early as Friday. If approved by the House, Senate and governor, HB 8 would require law enforcement agencies to support protective orders even if they haven’t been entered into the Alaska court system.

 


 

Contact Empire reporter James Brooks at james.k.brooks@juneauempire.com or call 419-7732.

 


 

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