Alaska Day session won't increase costs, official says

Posted: Thursday, October 18, 2007

The Alaska Legislature will begin work today on Gov. Sarah Palin's new oil tax bill, the Alaska's Clear and Equitable Share Act, on the anniversary of the state's birth.

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"Gov. Palin chose to begin the special session on Alaska Day because it commemorates an important step in our political and economic progress toward becoming a sovereign state - and because the passage of ACES would be another important step in that process," said Sharon Leighow, the governor's spokeswoman.

Dozens of legislative employees - it's not entirely clear how many - will have to work on Alaska Day. None will get a boost to their paychecks, despite having to work on the state holiday, said Pam Varni, director of the Legislative Affairs Agency.

"We don't pay overtime," she said.

Some employees are salaried, but hourly employees get comp time, Varni said.

Leighow said she didn't know if there would be any cost at all to the executive branch because most of those needed on Alaska day are salaried, but comp time would be available, she said.

House Speaker John Harris said it is not the Legislature's fault the special session, which many of them didn't want, is being held on Alaska Day.

"I didn't call the session for that day," he said. "I didn't call the session at all."

Sen. Kim Elton, D-Juneau, said he's given his staff comp time already.

"I gave two of them Monday off, knowing I was going to ask them to work on the holiday."

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