Sen. Peter Micciche, R-Soldotna, poses questions to Department of Corrections and Office of Management and Budget officials during a Senate Finance Committee meeting on Friday, Feb. 15, 2019. (Alex McCarthy | Juneau Empire)

Sen. Peter Micciche, R-Soldotna, poses questions to Department of Corrections and Office of Management and Budget officials during a Senate Finance Committee meeting on Friday, Feb. 15, 2019. (Alex McCarthy | Juneau Empire)

What you can expect at the Capitol this week

Legislators will tackle budget, Murkowski and Sullivan to speak

The state Senate has been rolling. Now that Gov. Mike Dunleavy has released his budget and the House has a speaker in Rep. Bryce Edgmon of Dillingham, the 31st Legislative Session is finally moving at full speed.

[‘To hell with politics’: House speaker elected after two Republicans cross party lines]

With that in mind, what can Alaskans expect this week at the Alaska State Capitol?

First, there will be three joint sessions. At 11 a.m. on Tuesday, Republican U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski will address the Legislature. U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan, R, will address the Legislature at 11 a.m. Thursday.

Then there is the State of the Judiciary, given by Alaska Supreme Court Justice Joel Bolger at 11 a.m. on Wednesday.

“It used to be the most reliably boring address in the joint session,” Sen. Jesse Kiehl, D-Juneau said. He explained how these addresses have become more interesting in recent years and worth paying attention to, though. “But with criminal justice reform and budget stuff, they’ve been more engaged in the how the courts have been able to work, not work with legislation.”

[Opinion by Gov. Dunleavy: My budget will be sustainable, predictable, affordable]


The Senate Finance Committee will continue working its way through the budget by going through departmental reviews. For example, the committee will review the Department of Health and Social Services on Monday.

“They continue to be spicy,” Kiehl said of the Finance Committee meetings. The spice Kiehl is referring to is the heated exchanges between some senators and Office of Management and Budget Director Donna Arduin as they discuss the budget.

As for the Senate Judiciary Committee, it will tackle Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s sex crimes bill, Senate Bill 35, which aims to close loopholes and increase penalties for sex offenses.


On Monday the House will continue to organize through its Committee on Committees. This committee will assign representatives to leadership roles and committee positions.

“Usually only us nerds are really interested in that,” Kiehl said of the Committee on Committees.

Chairing a committee gives a representative more power over a bill as it goes through committee. Whichever representatives are selected to chair the committees will play a larger role in setting policy in Alaska.

“I think this is going to be a fascinating structural thing,” Kiehl added. “Usually it’s all worked out before session.”

So far Reps. Tammie Wilson, R-North Pole, and Neal Foster, D-Nome, have been named co-chairs of the Finance Committee. Once that committee is filled, the House can get to work on the budget.

• Contact reporter Kevin Baird at 523-2258 or Follow him on Twitter at @alaska_kev.

More in News

A Princess Cruise Line ship is docked in Juneau on Aug. 25, 2021. (Michael Lockett / Juneau Empire File)
Ships in Port for the week of May 22, 2022

Here’s what to expect this week.

Juneau's incumbent delegation to the Alaska State Legislature from left to right: Representative Andi Story, D-Juneau; State Sen. Jesse Kiehl, D-Juneau, and Rep. Sara Hannan, D-Juneau. All three lawmakers have filed for re-election and are so far running unopposed. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire, Courtesy photo / Jesse Kiehl, Michael Lockett / Juneau Empire)
Local lawmakers all seek reelection

June 1, filing deadline.

Coast Guard aircrews medevaced two people from Dry Bay Airstrip, approximately 30 miles Southeast of Yakutat, Alaska, after their plane crashed, May 25, 2022. (Courtesy photo / Coast Guard District 17)
Three medevaced after plane crash near Yakutat

All four aboard were injured, three critically so.

The author’s appreciation for steelhead has turned into something like reverence considering what’s happening to populations in the Lower 48 and Canada. (Jeff Lund / For the Juneau Empire)
I Went to the Woods: Silent steel

“You forget most of what ends up in the freezer, but those steelhead, they stick with you.”

Senate President Peter Micciche, R-Soldotna, seen here in this June 16, 2021, file photo, announced Wednesday he will not seek relelection in the Alaska State Senate, where he has served since 2013. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire file)
Senate president says he won’t run again

“Honor and a privilege.”

Hoonah’s Alaska Youth Stewards helped make improvements to Moby and water the plants in summer 2021. (Courtesy Photo / Jillian Schuyler)
Resilient Peoples & Place: Moby the Mobile Greenhouse cultivates community

It presents opportunities to grow food knowledge and skills.

It's a police car until you look closely and see the details don't quite match. (Juneau Empire File / Michael Penn)
Police calls for Thursday, May 26, 2022

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

Most Read