Just seven of 11 House representatives are sitting in the House Finance room for a presentation about state debt — the same presentation given to a fully organized and legitimized Senate Finance Committee just this morning. Four of the normally filled committee seats are empty.
Debt Manager Deven Mitchell is treating the room as if it were the normally functioning House Finance Committee, addressing Rep. Tammie Wilson, R-North Pole, as chair even though no one can chair a committee that doesn’t technically exist. Wilson sponsored the presentation, calling it an “informational meeting.”
“We have to call them informational meetings since we’re not organized,” Wilson said to the Empire after the meeting. “But these are meetings that we would have had in finance at this point, which keeps us on track as far as when the budget comes out, we won’t have to then do these meetings because we will have already gotten the information.”
Wilson said she’s agreed that there will be six people from both sides of the aisle at such future meetings. If they aren’t in attendance at the start of the meeting, then whatever representative is in the audience can participate in their place.
— Mollie Barnes
What are the directions for program improvement that the data suggests for University of Alaska Anchorage’s education program, which recently lost accreditation? That’s the question at hand for the Alaska State Board of Education and Early Development today.
UAA is asking the State BOE&ED to approve initial licensure of recommended candidates through August of 2019 and to consider those candidates to have graduated from a state approved program, as the university’s official accreditation expired on Dec. 31, 2018. Their reasoning for this request is that most of the students completed the majority of their courses under the accredited program.
— Mollie Barnes
Healy Republican Rep. Dave Talerico’s nomination for House Speaker failed with a 20-20 vote. But this was not without drama.
Rep. David Eastman nominated Reps. Dave Talerico, R-Healy, and Bryce Edgmon, D-Dillingham, to be Speaker of the House.
Then Rep. Chris Tuck made a point of order, saying that Eastman, a Repubulican from Wasilla, could not submit two nominations per Mason’s Rules, which is a manuel of rules followed by the legislators. Speaker Pro Tempore Neal Foster then overruled Eastman’s nominations.
After a brief at-ease, Eastman resubmitted a nomination for Talerico.
Tuck submitted Edgmon’s name for speaker nomination but he rescinded that immediately.
Just before a vote on Talerico’s nomination, Rep. Geran Tarr objected to the vote on account of the “continuing stunts,” in reference to Eastman’s nominations.
“It’s really breaking all the trust we have worked for,” Tarr said.
A few Republican representatives stood up to offer their vocal support for Talerico before the vote.
Meanwhile the House remains without a permanent speaker and no committee assignments. It cannot get down to business until this occurs.
— Kevin Baird
Here’s what some on Twitter are saying about #AKleg.
I think the governor owes Alaskans an outline of what services he plans to privatize or eliminate and how much of a local tax increase to expect. It's more fun to talk about the PFD, but that's the easy part. #akleg #akgov
— Dermot Cole (@DermotMCole) February 4, 2019
Word clouds of every bill and resolution title in the Alaska Legislature for the previous 28 years.
— will muldoon (@WillMuldoon) February 3, 2019
As the chair of the Public Safety Finance Subcomm we put $ toward rural crime prevention through Village Public Safety Officers. It appears @MikeDunleavyGov has cut over 25% of it so far. Why is a life of a rural Alaskan not worth as much as any other? Explain! #akleg
— Scott Kawasaki (@alaskascott) January 28, 2019
– Mollie Barnes
The Super Bowl is not making much for water cooler talk here at the Alaska State Capitol. I just heard two women discussing how it was a boring affair.
With Sports Illustrated reporting this Super Bowl earning the worst television numbers in a decade, it’s not surprising the Empire’s Twitter followers found “the snacks” to be the best part of the game. I thought the spinach and artichoke dip at a local bar was quite delightful, myself.
Yesterday we posted a Super Bowl poll on Twitter asking “What’s your favorite part of the game?” The results so far:
- 51 percent chose “The snacks”
- 26 percent chose “The commercials”
- 15 percent chose “The game”
- 8 percent chose “The half time show”
There’s still four hours left to take the survey.
— Kevin Baird
Here’s what’s happening today at the Capitol:
At 9 a.m. The Senate Finance committee will hear a presentation by Department of Revenue Commissioner Bruce Tangeman and Deven Mitchell about state debt and credit ratings.
At 1 p.m. there will be an update for the House of the state’s investment funds and the 2019 credit review by Commissioner Bruce Tangeman. Sponsored by Rep. Tammie Wilson, R-North Pole.
At 3:30 p.m. there will be consideration of the governor’s appointee, Doug Vincent-Lang, for the Commissioner of the Department of Fish and Game.
At 4 p.m. there will be a Senate Public Safety committee meeting on “Alaska’s Fiscal Situation” by the Legislative Finance Division.
At 5 p.m. there will be a Senate Commerce, Community and Economic Development committee meeting with a presentation on the fiscal situation by Julie Anderson, commissioner-designee; April Wilkerson, administrative services director; Fred Parady, senior advisor/legislative liaison and Hannah Lager, division operations manager.
— Mollie Barnes