A legislative session sparked by strife between lawmakers and Gov. Sarah Palin, but marked by little legislative action other than passage of the state budget, rolled to a peaceful close Sunday evening.
The Senate adjourned shortly after 7:30 p.m. Sunday and the House followed less than a half hour later.
Legislative leaders in January said their focus in the 90-day session would be preparing a spending plan in response to the dramatic drop in the price of crude oil, the source of roughly 90 percent of state income. Oil reached a high of $144.59 per barrel in July but dropped to the low $30s by year's end.
By February, lawmakers were faced with the surreal juxtaposition of cutting state spending while managing a huge influx of federal dollars through President Barack Obama's federal stimulus plan - and a governor who said she would not accept much of the cash because of strings attached.
Lawmakers kept their word. They passed a flat operating budget, a tight public works budget and, upon deciding the stimulus money carried minimal strings, accepted virtually the entire stimulus package.
Critics say the Legislature missed opportunities to address some of Alaska's glaring social problems, and Gov. Sarah Palin may ultimately reject some of the stimulus money, but legislative leaders pronounced themselves satisfied with their performance.
"A lot of good legislation was coming through and a lot of it didn't pass this year," said Sen. President Gary Stevens, R-Kodiak. "But it has the chance to be worked on next year and become even better and become law next year."
House Speaker Mike Chenault, R-Nikiski, said managing the state's money and continuing to provide the services Alaskans expect was primary.
"We don't have the revenue we had before so we had to make the tough decisions," Chenault said. "It's the job we were sent down here for."
Lawmakers continued to express mixed feelings about the 90-day session. Alaskans in 2006 voted to shave a month off what had been a 120-day session.
Stevens said it was a struggle and the public was shortchanged because their testimony had to be limited.
Legislators earlier in the month had completed work on a $9.7 billion operating budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1. Sunday, they put the final touches on a $1.8 billion capital budget for 2010.
Several contentious issues took up a lot of time but did not pass into law. Many hearings and much public testimony was taken on a proposal to reinstate the death penalty, but the bill never made it to a floor vote.
Bills that would require parental consent or notification for a child under the age of 17 to have an abortion also failed to become law.
Less weighty matters made it through, however. Lawmakers set up a special day to honor the marmot and named the malamute as the state dog.
Left on the table for next year are several of the governor's top priorities, including work to advance an in-state natural gas pipeline, a Railbelt utilities plan, a natural gas tax and the continuing dilemma of how to pay for government in a time of diminishing income.
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