Kodiak Representative Alan Austerman, who is the House Majority Leader, spoke Monday about several issues before the legislature this year. Late last week he introduced a bill reinstating coastal management. He was asked to gauge how it might be received by his colleagues in the House.
— (Austerman 1 42 sec "I think it’s a wide open discussion … what the bill should look like.")
There’s been some debate whether school funding should be year-by-year, or if it should be forward-funded for three years. Austerman said many other House members seem to be leaning toward the latter option:
— (Austerman 2 25 sec "It also seems to me that the … dollar value we’re talking about.")
Senator Joe Thomas of Fairbanks is the prime sponsor of a bill that would give eligible Alaskans financial help with some energy expenses. The vouchers would be for 250 gallons of heating oil, an equivalent amount of natural gas, or 1,500 kilowatt-hours of electricity. Austerman said there are several details that need to be worked out in the plan:
— (Austerman 3 41 sec "Could create some problems with … the overall business sector.")
He said he would not support including schools in any energy voucher program, since they are funded by the legislature through other means.