House leaders said Monday that they don’t have necessary support from their members to call a special session that the Senate Friday said it supported to save the state’s Coastal Management program.
The Legislature failed to extend the program’s sunset date during its regular session this year, and then was unable to do so in a special session that followed the regular session.
Now, with the remaining members of the program’s 33 staffers facing layoff at the end of the month, the Senate is offering a simple one-year extension of the program.
“We are willing to continue negotiating with the Senate on a compromise to save the program. As it stands now, with the one-year offer from the Senate, not enough members support the call to return to Juneau,” Speaker Chenault said in a statement issued Monday.
Senate President Gary Stevens said last week that if the House were to agree to a special session, the date and location would be decided at that time.
“We want to keep moving forward in negotiations not starting back at zero, which is what this one-year extension would do.”
The House passed a version of the bill that the Senate failed to agree to. Then after a conference committee reached a compromise agreement, the House failed to agree to a bill that the Senate adopted.
On the day the special session adjourned, the House did not, during two separate votes, approve the Senate’s version, the vote being 20-15 each time. Twenty-one “yes” votes are required for passage, but five members were absent.
Now, only the Legislature can call itself into session, because special sessions called by the governor require 30-days notice, by which time the program’s June 30 sunset date will have passed.
Stevens’ Senate proposal called for a simple one-year renewal,
“The extension would not include any changes to the current Coastal Management program,” Stevens said Friday.
That would allow legislators the time needed to work on a compromise, he said.
Chenault said Monday that talks would continue about ways to solve the contentious issue before the end of the month
“It’s important not to turn ACMP renewal into a political football next session,” he said. “If we’re going to do, it let’s do it right: under a full and public legislative review.”
• Contact reporter Pat Forgey at 523-2250 or firstname.lastname@example.org.