Senate passes resolution allowing virtual meetings - Must Read Alaska
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Tuesday, June 15, 2021
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Senate passes resolution allowing virtual meetings

MUST PASS HOUSE, HOWEVER

If there’s an outbreak of COVID-19 in the Alaska Legislature, how will the budget get passed?

The Alaska Senate today unanimously approved a resolution allowing legislators to vote remotely if voting can no longer safely take place in the Capitol. 

“While the Legislature continues to convene here in the Capitol, this resolution ensures that the people’s business will not be delayed, regardless of how this pandemic develops or in the event of other natural disasters,” said Senate President Peter Micciche. “We’re here to get the people’s work done and resolve the big issues facing Alaskans – come hell or high water.”

“We hope we don’t need to utilize this,” said Sen. Gary Stevens, R-Kodiak, the resolution’s sponsor. “But it makes sense to give the Legislature the maximum flexibility to serve our constituents.” 

Senate Concurrent Resolution 1 would suspend the Legislature’s uniform rules, which requires a two-thirds vote of the full membership of each house. It passed the Senate by a vote of 19-0 and is now on its way to the Alaska House of Representatives for consideration.

Three of seven amendments were adopted that were basically cleanup amendments. One clarifies that the person using video conferencing for participating would either be doing so because of a COVID diagnosis or because they have to be in quarantine. Another specified that the resolution only pertains to regular and a first special session. The third clarifies that if there’s a technical or internet issue preventing a member from participating, the presiding officer could allow the member to report a bill from committee by telephone.

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Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.

Latest comments

  • It’s great to see the Senate working so closely together to get the people’s business done. Maybe the House members should pick up on how well they’re doing over in the Senate and emulate them, so they can get to work on the people’s business as well. It’s just a mystery to me as why there hasn’t been some kind of prodding from Gary Stevens to his counter-part in the House, RINO Stutes, to get with the program and side with the Republicans and get the House organized. I’m sick of this BS!

  • While not wishing people ill, it’s hard to see where an outbreak of COVID in the legislature would be anything but good for us.

    Every time they get together they act like high school mean girls, spend money we don’t have, and flatly refuse to make hard decisions regarding the necessary downsizing of state government. Then daydream about taxes.

    Best thing to happen is for them not to meet, not to screw us any further, and not collect their per deim while doing nothing.

    • In my estimation they spend money we don’t have because every single dollar in the operating and capital budgets has one or more lobbyists whereas frugality is merely what people running for office profess and then forget until they have to run again. Also, there is no denying that the House and Senate leadership in the last Legislature could not resist spending too much. Now we have a conservative majority in the Senate, but the most liberal of the bunch are on the Finance Committee, and since it’s a Majority of equals that Finance Committee will be able to combine with Democrats to roll over the top of the conservatives in the Majority. Whether they will do that or not is unknown at this point. Senate Finance Committee hearings last week and this week conclusively revealed that the state operating budget has not been reduced; funding sources have merely shifted around in a huge shell game.

  • The takeaway is even a mass-extinction threat like China flu won’t deter Alaska’s lobbyist-legislator team from accomplishing Job #1: Getting Money.

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