Capitol Live: On day 56, the Alaska Legislature passes first resolution of session

Follow along with live updates from Alaska’s Capitol.

1 p.m.

The Senate has looked at the revised House version of the joint resolution promoting ANWR lease sales. The resolution passed 18-1, with Senator Gray-Jackson holding the dissenting vote.

— Mollie Barnes

12:26 p.m.

The resolution passed 36-3, with representatives Hannan, Wool and Tarr holding the dissenting votes. Since the House changed the wording of the resolution, it will go back to the Senate for consideration and vote.

— Mollie Barnes

12:02 p.m.

Juneau’s Rep. Sara Hannan is voicing her disapproval of this resolution. She says she will not be voting for the resolution.

Rep. Sara Rasmussen, R-Anchorage is speaking in support.

“At a time when we currently face drastic cuts to Medicaid and…education… we need to find other options to bring fiscal stablity back to Alaska,” she says.

— Mollie Barnes

11:50 a.m.

Shall the House Resources Committee substitute be adopted? The vote for that was 39-0 in favor.

They’re now going into the final vote over the resolution.

Eastman withdrew his first amendment, and he is moving for a second amendment.

“This amendment asks Congress to follow our Alaska Statehood Act,” Eastman says.

The amendment urges “the United States Congress to amend the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act to honor the Alaska Statehood Act with respect to the state’s share of bonuses, royalties and rentals from exploration and development in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.”

Rep. Chuck Kopp, R-Anchorage, says this resolution shouldn’t be about relooking at the 50-50 share of revenues.

“We are not trying to reintroduce an argument to Congress about what our share should be,” he says. He says the Alaska congressional delegates already went through this discussion on the federal level.

Eastman is wrapping up his argument. He says, “While this is an important resolution, it is just a resolution. There is no legal effect…we are just asserting what we want to happen.”

He says the consequence of being silent on the split is that Alaska is accepting the 50-50 split over the 90-10 split that the Statehood Act calls for.

“I’m all for 50 over zero, but as part of that discussion… we continue to request that our Statehood Act be honored,” Eastman says.

The amendment failed 27-12.

— Mollie Barnes

11:45 a.m.

“I understand the resolution was changed in committee, and that change dealt with a provision regarding employing Alaskans,” Eastman says. He thinks they should be discussing the constitutionality of this provision.

Rep. Chris Tuck, D-Anchorage, says he doesn’t see why the provision would contradict the constitution.

Rep. Grier Hopkins, D-Fairbanks, says he got the language from previous resolutions, and those resolutions wouldn’t have been passed if they contradicted the constitution.

They’re going into another at ease now.

— Mollie Barnes

11:40 a.m.

A vote passed 28-11 to sustain the ruling of the chair to hear the ANWR resolution today. This ruling and vote came after Eastman argued that the House Rules Committee needed to meet in order to schedule the resolution on the calendar.

Rep. Dave Talerico, R-Healy, motioned to pass the ANWR resolution, and Eastman objected. They are taking a brief at ease now.

— Mollie Barnes

11:30 a.m.

The House is about to discuss leasing in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Last week, the Senate passed a resolution to encourage lease sales.

The Alaska Senate hoped to make its position on oil and gas development in the ANWR clear, with Senate Joint Resolution 7, which was passed last week with a 16-2 vote. Anchorage Democratic Sens. Tom Begich and Elvi Gray-Jackson carried the dissenting votes.

The joint resolution says, “the Alaska State Legislature requests that the United States Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management, implement an oil and gas leasing program in the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge as outlined in the December 2018 Coastal Plain Oil and Gas Leasing Program Draft Environmental Impact Statement.”

Alaska’s congressional delegation had worked to open the 1002-area of the coastal plain to oil and gas development for decades. When the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act was passed in December 2017, U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowsk, R-Alaska, worked to insert a provision in the act to open ANWR to development. Alaska and the federal government agreed upon a 50-50 split on revenues.

Rep. David Eastman, R-Wasilla, says a joint resolution is the most formal resolution. He says the rules committee has not met to put this resolution on the calendar, and in order to bypass this, the House needs a motion to do so.

— Mollie Barnes

11:21 a.m.

The House is taking a brief at ease after introducing their guests for the morning.

— Mollie Barnes

10:57 a.m.

Former Anchorage Superior Court Judge Michael Cory, who presided over the Justin Schneider case, suggested that victims of sexual assault be given the power to veto a plea deal. Cory was calling in to the Senate Finance Committee to testify on Senate Bill 12, which Sen. Peter Micciche, R-Soldotna, has introduced to close the “Schneider Loophole.”

Cory said the Schneider case had “a horrible result.”

— Kevin Baird

10 a.m.

Senate Finance is taking public testimony on Senate Bill 12 right now.

Read more about that in our story here: Bill would ‘redefine’ sex crime in Alaska, broaden definition of sexual assault

There will be lots of opportunity for public testimony this week. Tomorrow legislators are taking public testimony on the Alaska Marine Highway System at 1:30 p.m. and on the Permanent Fund Dividend at 6 p.m. Now’s the time to make your voice heard on the proposed budget.

— Mollie Barnes

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