Both chambers of the Alaska State Legislature gaveled their sessions closed early Monday morning, but even before the sunrise, Governor Sean Parnell had called them into a special session which will start tomorrow.
Human trafficking, an in-state gas pipeline and an oil tax reduction bill are the three items the House and Senate will be limited to during the special session.
The Senate was unable to advance an oil tax bill during the last two years, because, as Senate President Gary Stevens says, his chamber could not agree on cuts the size the governor wanted:
— (Session 1 50 sec "Well I simply think we couldn’t … and say, ‘this is the answer.’")
Without a bill from the Senate, Kodiak Representative Alan Austerman, the House Majority Leader, said the 30-day session might not produce the kind of results that are agreeable to all parties:
— (Session 2 31 sec "While we anticipated him … wonder why we’re going to be here.")
The hang-up in the state senate the past two years has been the amount of the tax reduction on the oil companies and the lack of guarantees that big oil would use those cuts as incentives for further exploration. Stevens says that just wasn’t good law-making:
— (Session 3 28 sec "Is it our fault for not passing bad … every effort to do that.")
Despite no movement on an oil-tax rewrite, Austerman says good things regarding energy and other issues did come out of the legislature this year:
— (Session 4 41 sec "We’ve done a lot of work on … couple of years on education.")
The legislature will convene tomorrow for a maximum of 30 days. They are restricted to the three issues Governor Parnell listed when he called the special session. He could call them back after 30 days if progress is not made.