From left to right: Speaker of the Alaska House of Representatives Louise Stutes, R-Kodiak, House Majority Leader Chris Tuck, D-Anchorage, and House Minority Leader Cathy Tilton, R-Wasilla, discuss messages from the Senate in the hall of the Alaska State Capitol on Monday, Oct. 4, 2021. A plan to hold the special session mostly from afar was hampered by demands from Republican Senators. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire)

Plan for remote session stalled by lawmakers

Citing lack of progress, lawmakers want frequent floor sessions

A resolution allowing lawmakers to hold the latest special session mostly from afar ran into trouble Monday evening, as some members of the Senate majority expressed frustration with that arrangement.

Senate Minority Leader Tom Begich, D-Anchorage, told the Empire Tuesday the four caucus leaders had agreed on a resolution to extend the amount of time lawmakers could take between floor sessions, allowing them to hold committee meetings elsewhere in the state. But some members of the Senate majority took issue with that plan, Begich said, and negotiations were continuing among that caucus.

“The work we all believe can be done elsewhere,” Begich said, referring to members of the Democratic minority. “We are willing to do what it takes to move the process forward.”

Both chambers of the Legislature are scheduled to meet again Friday, but no additional committee meetings have been scheduled in the interim.

Senate President Peter Micciche, R-Soldotna, did not immediately respond to the request for comment.

[4th special session gets off to a slow start]

House Minority Leader Cathy Tilton, R-Wasilla, said in a phone interview Tuesday her caucus is not necessarily opposed to holding committee meetings on the road system and wanted to work toward resolving the state’s fiscal deficit. Tilton said she wanted to see the bills introduced by Gov. Mike Dunleavy being taken under consideration and used as a framework for a fiscal resolution.

Earlier this year Dunleavy introduced several bills for constitutional amendments for a new Permanent Fund dividend formula and a spending limit for the Legislature.

Several lawmakers in both parties and in both chambers have been critical of the governor’s proposals for a fiscal resolution. The governor’s proposals still leave the need for additional revenues which lawmakers have been divided over. Some lawmakers have introduced tax bills, but Tilton said she and her caucus were skeptical of new taxes and opposed to a state income tax.

The fiscal policy working group formed over the summer said the state would need to find between $500-755 million in new revenues in order to balance the budget.

• Contact reporter Peter Segall at Follow him on Twitter at @SegallJnuEmpire.

More in News

Michael Penn / Juneau Empire File
The Aurora Borealis glows over the Mendenhall Glacier in 2014.
Aurora Forecast

Forecasts from the University of Alaska Fairbanks’ Geophysical Institute for the week of March. 19

Juneau Brass Quintet co-founding member Bill Paulick along with Stephen Young performs “Shepherd’s Hey” to a packed house at the Alaska State Museum on Saturday as part of the quintet’s season-ending performance. Friends of the Alaska State Library, Archives and Museum sponsored the event with proceeds going to the musicians and FoSLAM. (Jonson Kuhn / Juneau Empire)
Top brass turns out for event at State Museum

Free performance puts a capt on a busy season.

On Thursday, the Alaska State Board of Education approved a resolution that supports barring transgender female students from participating in girls’ sports. (Getty Images illustration via Alaska Beacon)
State school board supports barring transgender female students from participating in girls’ sports

On Thursday, the Alaska State Board of Education approved a resolution that… Continue reading

Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire 
State Sen. Lyman Hoffman, D-Bethel, asks Randy Bates, director of the Division of Water for the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, about state water quality regulations some fish hatcheries are calling harmful during a Senate Finance Committee meeting Friday. The meeting was to review the DEC’s proposal to take over responsibility for many federal Clean Water Act permits, claiming it will be more responsible and efficient for development projects. Some of the senators questioned both the cost of the state taking over a process currently funded by the federal government, as well as the state’s ability to properly due to the job within the guidelines for such a takeover.
Wading into rule change proposals affecting clean water

National PFAS limits, state takeover of wetlands permits raise doubts about who should take charge

Guy Archibald collects clam shell specimens on Admiralty Island. Archibald was the lead author of a recently released study that linked a dramatic increase of lead levels in Hawk Inlet’s marine ecosystem and land surrounding it on Admiralty Island to tailings released from the nearby Hecla Greens Creek Mine. (Courtesy Photo / John Neary)
New study links mine to elevated lead levels in Hawk Inlet

Hecla Greens Creek Mine official ardently refutes the report’s findings.

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire File)
Police calls for Saturday, March 18, 2023

This report contains information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

HP Marshall of Boise State University takes a photo of Alaska’s North Slope north of the Brooks Range during a snow survey as part of a NASA experiment. (Courtesy Photo / Sveta Stuefer)
Alaska Science Forum: Dozens descend upon Alaska to measure snow

“We would like to be able to map the water-equivalent (in snow) globally.”

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire File)
Police calls for Friday, March 17, 2023

This report contains information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

Most Read