THE COUNCIL HAS THE POWER TO ELECT CHAIRMAN
A former senator says that Speaker Bryce Edgmon does not have the authority to remove Rep. Sam Kito as the chair of the Legislative Council, a joint legislative body that deals with the Legislature’s business in between sessions.
Former Sen. Bill Stoltze said by phone today that the chair of that council is formally appointed by the House and Senate members of the council themselves, and therefore can’t be fired by the Speaker.
“The legislative council is composed of the president of the senate and six other senators appointed by the president, and the speaker of the house of representatives and six other representatives appointed by the speaker. The membership from each house shall include at least one member from each of the two major political parties. The appointing authority in each house shall make and announce the appointment or reappointment of members of the council within 15 days after the convening of the first regular session of each legislature.” – Alaska Statute 24.20.020
The legislative council has the power:
- (1) to organize and adopt rules for the conduct of its business – Alaska Statute 24.20.060
“The chair is selected formally by joint House and Senate members of the council,” Stoltze reiterated. It’s a position that rotates between House and Senate every two years.
Stolze referred to the coup of 1981, when Rep. Jim Duncan of Juneau lost control of the House. Even new speaker Joe Hayes was not able to get rid of Leg. Council Chair Hugh Malone. “The terms are set in statute and not subject to uniform rules,” he said.
For his part, Kito went onto Twitter with his complaint: “So I was removed from leg council for speaking truth to power, and all this is my reward for being the 21st vote on the operating budget on two occasions while the rules chair consistently voted against the majority.”
Kito is still steaming mad about Rep. Gabrielle LeDoux being able to vote against the majority, while the Democrats had to stay in their lane. At the end of session, he tried to have LeDoux removed as Rules chair, but it appears that she won the battle and instead had Speaker Edgmon eject Kito from his chairmanship of Legislative Council, although the legality of Edgmon’s move is now very much in question.