Work wraps on operating budget

JUNEAU — House and Senate negotiators have reached agreement on their differences in the state operating budget.

On Saturday night, they agreed to the Senate’s approach to funding Alaska Performance scholarships for this year’s graduates.

Rep. Bill Thomas, one of the House negotiators, says that puts the pressure on lawmakers to reach consensus on HB104, which would establish a long-term fund for student scholarships.

Gov. Sean Parnell had urged the conference committee members to provide the $8 million he requested for the scholarship program and not tie a portion of the funding to HB104, as the Senate has. Parnell objects to changes the Senate made to the bill, including changed terms for achieving performance scholarships.

HB104 was assigned to a separate conference committee.

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