“These hearings are the first meaningful actions in the House since convening the third special session.”
Three Alaska House Republicans did something no one could have anticipated on Monday: They complimented Democrats in charge of important committees in the House, specifically, Rep. Matt Claman, chair of House Judiciary, and Rep. Ivy Spohnholz, who chairs the House Ways and Means Committee.
Why the praise? They’re evidently just happy to see ant activity on critical legislation in what is now the third week of the third special session of the year, when much of the House leadership seems bogged down, unable to do anything.
Rep. Sarah Vance of Homer, a member of the House Judiciary Committee stated, “These hearings are the first meaningful steps toward a comprehensive long-term fiscal plan since convening the third special session.”
The House Judiciary Committee is scheduled to take up Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s HJR 7 on Tuesday. The bill proposes amendments to the Alaska Constitution regarding the future of the Permanent Fund and the dividend.
If passed by the Legislature, HJR 7 would be placed before Alaska voters in the 2022 general election.
“These hearings and the consideration of these important pieces of legislation are truly encouraging,” said Rep. Cathy Tilton of Chugiak-Mat-Su, who is the Republican Minority leader. “I’d like to thank my colleagues for their political courage and bipartisanship.”
Rep. Mike Prax of North Pole, a Republican member of Ways and Means committee and alternate on the Fiscal Policy Working Group, said: “I came to Juneau for this special session, prepared to work. I’ve been disappointed by the lack of meaningful progress thus far. We have many difficult and complicated issues to work through. I sincerely appreciate Chair Spohnholz’s willingness to start these critical conversations.”
The House Ways and Means Committee, chaired by Rep. Ivy Spohnholz, has scheduled more than a week of hearings, starting Monday at 9 am, to brief the committee on the recommendations of the Fiscal Policy Working Group and later hear legislation that could become part of a comprehensive package.