Legislative start date still not settled

Lawmakers have to sort out conflicting versions of the bill

Posted: Thursday, May 10, 2007

The Alaska Legislature failed Wednesday to settle on next year's start date but may be able to do so today.

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The new 90-day legislative session requirement adopted by voters last year will go into effect next year, but the House and Senate have adopted conflicting versions of the bill to implement the session.

The Senate has adopted a session start date of the second Monday in February each year. The House of Representatives has adopted staggered start dates.

The Legislature would meet the second Monday of January in the first session, and on the second Monday of February during the second session except in a year following a gubernatorial election.

During those years, it would meet the third Monday in January.

A conference committee met Wednesday with three members each from the House and Senate attempting to agree on one version or another.

"The start date is the preeminent disagreement," said Sen. Lesil McGuire, one of the conference committee's co-chairs.

When the committee couldn't reach agreement, McGuire and Rep. John Coghill, R-North Pole, the other co-chair, said they would seek broader powers from their respective bodies to reach a compromise agreement.

McGuire said a likely compromise would include a consistent start date, possibly three weeks into January.

The bill under discussion is House Bill 171.

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

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