Energy rebate among new legislative bills

Posted: Monday, January 14, 2008

Alaskans could get a break on their heating bills under a proposal included in more than a dozen pieces of legislation filed in the run up to the legislative session.

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Sen. Tom Wagoner, R-Kenai, said he wants Alaskan families to be eligible for a $750 break in their winter heating bills.

"How do you do that and be fair and equitable about it? I came up with the idea that we tie it to the electrical meter and then we fund the electrical cooperatives because just about everybody in Alaska has an electric meter," Wagoner said.

Wagoner said other provisions could be made for communities with other sources of power such as diesel generators.

Although he is still fleshing out the details of the proposal, Wagoner said he wanted to get a bill filed early so that it would have more of a chance of being heard. He filed it Friday.

His bill will have to compete with dozens of others struggling to make it through the legislative process during a truncated 90-day session.

To that end, Wagoner borrowed language from legislation introduced two years ago, which would have meted out an "energy dividend" of $250 for every recipient of a Permanent Fund Dividend.

Wagoner said he will introduce new language into the bill once the session is under way.

Other prefiled bills include:

• a change in the definition of partial birth abortion from Reps. John Coghill, R-North Pole, and Wes Keller, R-Wasilla.

• a requirement that legislators with conflicts of interest abstain from voting on a bill when it has reached the House or Senate floor from Rep. Gabrielle LeDoux, R-Kodiak.

• a proposed constitutional amendment that would stash away a portion of new oil revenues into a production tax revenue fund from Rep. Ralph Samuels, R-Anchorage.

• a requirement that elementary schools also offer preschool programs by Reps. Les Gara, D-Anchorage and Scott Kawasaki, D-Fairbanks.

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