Thu, 04/14/2011 - 22:48

A quick update of what occured today (fyi, I will never post anything on the blog before my subscribers receive it):

Speaker Chenault left the dias to give a speech from the floor (link to text and video: ).  He is very unhappy that the senate is still holding on to the capital budget, and feels that the proper legislative process isn't being followed.  Several legislators have said just today that they don't think the legislature will adjourn by Sunday evening.

I would be willing to guess that the senate is holding on to the capital budget not because it is dilly dallying around, but because it hasn't gotten things it wants from the house yet.  Once the house has possession of the capital budget, the senate loses some of its influence over the outcome, and they need to ensure that their priorities will be met before they release the capital budget to the house.

In addition, many senators feel very strongly that there needs to be some sort of additional funding for education.  SB 84 and SB 97 were both passed and sent to the house, and senators hope the house will act on either one or the other.  Just today there has been movement on SB 84, with the bill passing out of the House Finance Committee earlier this evening.

SB 97 is in House Finance, and scheduled for a hearing Friday.  However, Chairman Stoltze said the House Finance Committee may or may not meet, depending on negotiations.

The Conference Committee on the operating budget met late this afternoon.  Many items in the DEED operating budget are still not agreed upon, including the statewide mentoring program, the Pilot Pre-K Program and early learning in the intervention districts, Best Beginnings, the unallocated reduction of $2 million in federal receipts to Teaching & Learning Support, Alaska State Council on the Arts funding, the College Access Challenge Grant, and funding for the Alaska Performance Scholarship Program and the AlaskAdvantage Education Grant program.