Legislature to have consistent start dates

Posted: Friday, May 11, 2007

Next year's session of the Alaska Legislature will begin the third Tuesday in January, and so will the 2009 session.

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The Senate and House of Representatives adopted bills to implement the new 90-day session law adopted by voters in November, but disagreed on the start dates.

Senators had wanted to start on the second Monday in February, while the House sought a staggered start with January and February start dates.

Thursday a conference committee met to combine the two and agreed with little debate to a suggestion by Rep. John Coghill, R-North Pole, for the third Tuesday in January.

"This would be a compromise," Coghill said.

The compromise was passed unanimously by the six members, equally representing the House and Senate. Coghill and Sen. Lesil McGuire, R-Anchorage, were co-chairs.

While the city of Juneau and the Alaska Committee had no formal position on the issue, some Juneau landlords and tourist-business owners had said they hoped for an earlier-in-the-year session to free up housing for the influx of workers in the spring.

McGuire said she hoped Juneau landlords would not charge a full month's rent for the partial months of occupation that were likely to result.

"We may miss the May month of rent, which would be nice," said Coghill.

The bill implementing the 90-day session regulations is House Bill 171.

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

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