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End of session official, legislative attorney says

Posted: May 3, 2012 - 12:17am

Alaska’s legislative session ended this week with more of a whimper than a bang, but end it did, say legislative officials.

The end for the Senate came after Parnell pulled one of two remaining issues from consideration, and senators concluded they could not reach agreement on the other.

That led Senators to adjourn “sine die,” or for the final time, on April 26 last week.

Neither body can end the session on its own, however. Under the Alaska Constitution, if the other body does not follow suit within three days, both are automatically back in session.

Monday, April 30, was the third day, as Sunday doesn’t count.

House leaders who supported House Speaker Mike Chenault’s gas pipeline bill tried to find a way to keep the session alive, but abandoned that effort late on that day.

Their move to also adjourn sine die ended the session, said Doug Gardner, legislative attorney.

“Once the House adjourned sine die on April 30, the House accepted the Senate’s sine die adjournment, ending the Third Special Session of the 27th Alaska Legislature,” Gardner wrote in an advice letter to Senate President Gary Stevens, R-Kodiak.

Monday afternoon, the few senators remaining in Juneau convened for the session that would be required if the House had not also adjourned sine die.

Stevens was there presiding, with Sen. Dennis Egan, D-Juneau, serving in the role of majority leader and running the brief meeting for the smattering of legislators on the floor.

It turns out that session wasn’t needed, because shortly after 5 p.m. the House also adjourned sine die, ending the session.

Senate Bipartisan Working Group press secretary Carolyn Kuckertz said the Senate session Monday was made irrelevant by the House action to adjourn sine die later that day.

“We were waiting for the House to concur or not concur with our sine die,” Kuckertz said.

When the House did concur within the deadline, that meant that the Senate sine die of last week still stood, she said.

• Contact reporter Pat Forgey at 523-2250 or patrick.forgey@juneauempire.com

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