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Doll to tackle ethics reform in committee work

Other lawmakers find their niche in legislative groups

Posted: Sunday, January 21, 2007

Juneau's legislative delegation has been trying to position its members where they're most effective, and new Rep. Andrea Doll has won a seat on the State Affairs Committee. That's a key committee for government-dependent Juneau and its all-Democrat delegation.

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"It has always typically been Juneau legislators who wanted to be on State Affairs," Doll said.

The committee looks to be particularly active this year, as it is the committee of first referral for several ethics bills that are likely to be hotly contested.

One of the chief ethics reform efforts, HB 10, sponsored by Rep. Berta Gardner, Rep. Bob Lynn and a bipartisan group of other legislators, is scheduled for its first hearing Tuesday.

Doll hasn't joined that bill as a co-sponsor, but said she's looking forward to that hearing. Increasing ethical standards in Alaska was a key theme of the first-term representative's electoral campaign.

Previously announced committee positions for Juneau legislators include that of Sen. Kim Elton on the powerful Senate Finance Committee, a position he won when he joined a bipartisan coalition that won control of the Senate in November.

Elton also serves on the World Trade and State/Federal Relations Committee. That committee is likely to be less active, but it deals with international trade issues and may draw on Elton's background in fisheries and natural resources issues.

Elton also will serve on the Health, Education and Social Services Committee.

Between sessions, Elton also will serve on the Legislative Council, a potentially important committee that acts for the Legislature when the full body is not in session. The committee's activity varies, but it could have an increasing role to play in a shorter regular session.

Serving in the House of Representatives with Doll is Juneau Rep. Beth Kerttula. She was elected by House Democrats to be their minority leader for the 25th Legislature.

The five-term representative may get most of her influence through her leadership post, as she serves on the Rules Committee and the Committee on Committees.

She's also a member of the Military and Veterans Affairs Committee and four finance subcommittees, including Environmental Conservation, Governor's Office, Legislature and Law.

Doll also requested and got a spot service on the Armed Services Committee, something she wanted to do as a 30-year military wife.

"We need to be more cognizant as a whole of the role our military plays, whether or not we agree with our foreign policy," she said.

Doll also serves on the Economic Development, Trade and Tourism Committee, which is important to Juneau's economy.

In addition, she is on two subcommittees of the Finance Committee, where she's likely to be able to delve into the budgets of some important departments. The Transportation and Public Facilities subcommittee will be involved in several issues important to Juneau, she said, including roads and ferries.

"The whole economy of the community is based on access," she said.

And her slot on the Corrections subcommittee is relevant both to Juneau's Lemon Creek Correctional Center and the social issues that prompted her to run for office.

"You can't talk about the money we put into education - or don't put into education - without talking about the ramifications down the road," she said.

On Friday morning, Doll attended her first legislative committee meeting with the Economic Development Committee, during which she asked questions about natural gas demand in China and its role in development of Alaska's resources.

• Pat Forgey can be reached at patrick.forgey@juneauempire.com.



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