House, Senate leave major issues unsettled

JUNEAU — While most differences between the House and Senate versions of the operating budget have been settled, the most contentious have not.

Those include prison, scholarship and coastal management program funding.

The House included $3.6 million for a phased opening of the Goose Creek Correctional Center; the Senate included none. Some senators want an audit of the prison first.

The House had $8 million for Gov. Sean Parnell’s merit scholarship program. The Senate has $1.1 million. Parnell proposed $8.2 million for scholarships and $1.1 million for a program with students with financial needs; the Senate swapped those. The Senate also stripped funding for a coastal management program that rural lawmakers consider broken.

The conference committee didn’t set another meeting date after Thursday’s work but negotiations are ongoing.

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