Alaska House prepares to take up operating budget

The Alaska House of Representatives is taking the budget to the floor.

Late Friday, the House Finance Committee, along caucus lines, approved its version of the state’s operating budget for the fiscal year that starts July 1. Later this week, the full House is expected to vote on approving that budget and sending it to the Senate for consideration.

First, House lawmakers will have a chance to suggest individual amendments to the $11.3 billion budget bill approved by the committee. House Bill 286, the budget bill, is expected to be a topic of discussion on the House floor for several days, if not the entire week.

The Alaska Senate, which is awaiting its turn to vote on the budget, is expected to vote upon Senate Bill 196, which would tighten the state’s statutory spending limit. While that bill would have limited effect beyond this year, it is expected to be paired with a proposal to update the state’s constitutional spending limit, something that could have long-term effects on state spending.

Alcohol public testimony

The Senate Labor and Commerce Committee will take public testimony on Senate Bill 76, a sweeping reform of the state’s alcohol laws, at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday and 1:30 p.m. Thursday. SB 76 has been in the works for several years with the guidance of a panel that includes people involved in the alcohol industry and people who deal with the societal effects of alcohol.

E-cig ban heard in House

A ban on e-cigarette and vaporizer sales to Alaskans under 19 years old will be considered by the House of Representatives on Wednesday. The House Labor and Commerce Committee is scheduled to hear public testimony on Senate Bill 15 at 3:15 p.m. SB 15 has already been approved by the Senate.

Missile defense lecture scheduled

Alaska’s military leaders will be in the Capitol this week as part of an annual appearance. At noon Wednesday, a lunch and learn lecture will discuss the operations of the missile defense system at Fort Greely, near Delta Junction, and the Ballistic Missile Early Warning System radar at Clear, in the Interior.

At 11:30 a.m. Thursday, a joint meeting of the House and Senate armed services committees will hear testimony from the Alaska NORAD commander, the head of the Alaska National Guard, and the commanders of the Air Force, Army and Coast Guard in Alaska.

Haven House fundraiser Thursday

At 7 p.m. Thursday in the Juneau Art and Culture Center, a band of legislators and staffers will perform classic rock as part of a benefit concert for Haven House, a transition home for women leaving prison. Among the performers is Senate President Pete Kelly, R-Fairbanks, Rep. David Talerico, R-Healy, and Rep. Dan Saddler, R-Eagle River. Admission is by donation at the door, food will be available, and alcohol will also be for sale. Entry is restricted to those 21 and older.

The benefit follows a successful event last year that raised more than $160,000 for the reconstruction of Project Playground.

• Contact reporter James Brooks at or 523-2258.

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