JUNEAU — Monday is a holiday but not for the Alaska Legislature. President’s Day kicks off a full week set to include industry testimony on the governor’s oil tax bill, hearing of a vote identification bill and a speech by Alaska’s senior U.S. senator.
The House and Senate Resources committees plan to hear from producers and explorers as they continue hearings on Gov. Sean Parnell’s plan to overhaul Alaska’s oil tax structure.
Industry testimony in front of both committees is scheduled for Monday and Wednesday. The committees are working on the proposal — HB72 in the House, SB21 in the Senate — on parallel tracks. Legislative leaders in both chambers have said that finding ways to increase oil production is a priority for them this session; the question — and stumbling block — the last several years has been how best to go about doing that. While lawmakers expect Parnell’s bill will be the vehicle for any tax bill moving forward, a number have been quick to note that they can’t support it in its current form.
Major producers, as well as the Alaska Oil and Gas Association, have previously testified that there are parts of Parnell’s bill that work and parts that they find problematic.
House State Affairs is expected to hold its first hearing on HB3, a measure from Reps. Bob Lynn, R-Anchorage, and Wes Keller, R-Wasilla, that would require that voters show identification before being allowed to cast ballots. Under the bill, people would be required to show a photo ID, such as a driver’s license, or two forms of identification without a photo, including a government-issued identification card and original or certified copy of one’s birth certificate. The requirement could be waived if two election officials know the voter’s identity and he or she is on the official registration list to vote in a given precinct.
U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski is scheduled to give her annual address to a joint session of the Alaska Legislature on Thursday. Murkowski, a Republican, is Alaska’s senior senator. The speech is generally used to update lawmakers on goings-on in Washington that could or do affect the state.