No legislative action on special sessions seventh day

first_imgThere was no legislative action on the seventh day of the special session. (Photo by Andrew Kitchenman/KTOO and Alaska Public Media)There were no committee meetings and only technical floor sessions in the Capitol on Wednesday, the seventh day of the Alaska Legislature’s 30-day special session.Listen nowThere has been no sign of progress in resolving the state’s budget crisis. House Speaker Bryce Edgmon put out a statement Tuesday saying that House members could go home for the Memorial Day holiday. He called on the Senate to act on a new revenue measure to use as a basis for negotiations. He also said he wants the Senate to appoint members to a committee to work out differences between the two chambers over changes to oil and gas taxes and tax credits.Leaders of the two chambers are seeking to set the terms of the negotiations. Edgmon wants revenue measures to be a part of a compromise, while Senate President Pete Kelly has said his caucus doesn’t want a broad-based tax. It’s not clear at this point what will cause either side to budge.There has been some progress on the only bill in the special session that’s not related to the budget. The Senate Finance Committee met Tuesday to hear testimony on Senate Bill 79, which is intended to reduce overdose deaths from prescription opioids. Most professional groups appear to support the bill, but some doctors and pharmacists would like to see the Senate make changes to the bill. The House passed its version, House Bill 159, on Monday. The State Medical Board said one of the bill’s main provisions – which limits most opioid prescriptions to a seven-day supply – is too vague.Special sessions typically cost $20,000 to $30,000 each day, according to the Legislative Affairs Agency. Much of that is to cover the living expenses for lawmakers and housing costs for them and their staffs who have to stay in Juneau.Edgmon said House members won’t collect per diems while they’re home, which would lower the cost if they follow through on that.But Alaskans who’d like to see the Legislature fix the state’s budget problem are unlikely to see much action until at least next week.last_img read more