Palin leaves session location decision to the Legislature

Juneau delegation encouraged site was left open-ended

Posted: Sunday, August 05, 2007

Gov. Sarah Palin said Friday in Juneau she'll call a special session of the Legislature on Alaska Day, but will leave it up to legislators to decide where to meet.

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She said she prefers meeting outside the capital. Juneau legislators say they'll fight any effort to move the session.

Sen. Kim Elton, D-Juneau, and Rep. Beth Kerttula, D-Juneau, said they were encouraged by Palin's decision to not infringe upon legislative powers by telling them where to meet.

"The governor did say she wanted us to decide where the session will be," Elton said. "I think we need to decide to have it where our professional staff and our offices are."

Rep. Andrea Doll, D-Juneau, was traveling to the National Conference of State Legislators and was unavailable for comment.

Palin said she expects the leadership of the House and Senate to poll their members prior to her calling a special session on Sept. 4, and find out where the majority of their members want to meet for the Oct. 18 session.

Palin said she continues to prefer to meet someplace "on the road system," but will meet wherever the Legislature decides.

"They should let us know, and we'll be there," she said.

Kerttula said she believes most members of her Democratic caucus would support meeting in Juneau, as would rural and Bush legislators and even some members of the majority Republicans.

"We need to be in the capital for a decision of this magnitude," she said.

Palin said she wanted the Legislature to meet in a location where more Alaskans can easily attend the session in person, suggesting Anchorage or Fairbanks, but she said other cities could propose hosting the session as well.

"More Alaskans need to have the opportunity to participate," she said.

If the session is held in Juneau, Kerttula said, all Alaskans can monitor the session through the Gavel-to-Gavel television network, she said, not just the few who might be able to attend in person.

"We have to be in the capital for a decision of this magnitude," Kerttula said.

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