• Forecast
  • News Tip
  • Categories
Temperature Precipitation
Estimated read time
2m 10s

Annual legislative “Energy Break” canceled

By Rhonda McBride 7:30 AM February 21, 2014

House Speaker Mike Chenault said a few lawmakers will attend the annual Energy Council conference in Washington, D.C.

JUNEAU – A departure from a longstanding legislative tradition was announced on Thursday — a break from what’s known as the “Energy Break.”

Normally, the Legislature shuts down for a week in March to give lawmakers a chance to attend the Energy Council conference in Washington, D.C., which is being held March 6 – 9 this year.

Over the past two decades,there have been times when as much as a third of the Legislature traveled to the nation’s capital for the gathering, which draws people from oil producing regions including Venezuela.

Despite criticism that the conference costs too much and eats up time in an already truncated 90-day session, lawmakers have insisted that it’s not a junket, that instead it’s an opportunity to learn more about the oil and gas industry  by comparing notes with their counterparts from other oil and gas producing states and countries, as well as hear from world experts.

Sen. John Coghill, the Senate majority leader, said lawmakers would also use the time to visit politicians and high-ranking government officials to promote development in Alaska.

But Coghill said he saw no point in attending this year because the Obama administration is not receptive to Alaska’s resource development message.

Recently, eyebrows have been raised over the Legislature’s spending for travel — about $1 million last year, a roughly 50 percent increase from the year before.

But Coghill said rising travel costs were not the primary driver of the legislative leadership’s decision to cancel the Energy Break. He said it had to do more with the desire to end the session early, before the Easter holiday, and to devote more time to natural gas legislation.

“We’ll be able to keep our resource committee together. We’ll be able to keep our finance committee going,” Coghill said. “Yes. We need to plow through the issues. It’s true we need to be more frugal with our travel.”

House Speaker Mike Chenault said a few lawmakers will attend, “but it’s my intent that the House continues to work.”

Legislative aides have looked forward to the break to get caught up on work, especially after the legislative session downsized from 120 days to 90 and the pace of the session accelerated considerably.

Those lawmakers who didn’t travel to Washington often took the opportunity to go home and visit with their constituents.

But now, for the first time since the 90-day session was instituted, lawmakers and their staffers will part with a tradition that not only  gave them a break, but also restored their energy.

Maybe that’s why it was called the “Energy Break.”

Latest Stories

  • KTVA Weather Lab: Chinook Elementary School

    by Melissa Frey on Apr 25, 13:01

    In this week’s KTVA Weather Lab, I visited Chinook Elementary School in Anchorage, where the second and third graders in Ms. Demain’s class are getting their first introduction to the science behind the weather. I also answered the question of the week about the biggest storm ever recorded on Earth. Every Tuesday, Melissa Frey will take the KTVA Weather […]

  • News

    Bethel DMV office to close indefinitely starting May 1

    by Anna Rose MacArthur/KYUK on Apr 25, 12:06

    If you need a new driver’s license, get it before the end of the week. Starting May 1, the Bethel DMV Office will be closing indefinitely until a new employee is hired, according to a report by KYUK. Current DMV employee Rebecca Phillip is leaving the office at the end of the month to take […]

  • Something for everyone in Anchorage Concert Association’s upcoming season

    by Daybreak Staff on Apr 25, 12:00

    From “Roger & Hammerstein’s Cinderella” to “One Man Star Wars,” the Anchorage Concert Association’s 2017 to 2018 season has a little bit of everything. Kicking off the season is Grammy Award-winning artist Melissa Etheridge in September. Later that month is “Straight No Chaser,” an a capella group. In October, there’s “Scott Bradlee’s Post Modern Jukebox,” […]

  • Ride hard and breathe easy in this year’s Clean Air Challenge

    by Daybreak Staff on Apr 25, 11:53

    Ride hard, and breathe easy in this year’s Clean Air Challenge fundraiser. It’s a bike ride happening in Talkeetna, Alaska on Saturday, May 6. One of the volunteers and participants, Julie Hasquet said she’s riding for her mother and daughters. Hasquet’s mother had lung cancer and passed away in 2001. She says her daughters have […]

  • News

    Pilot, company culture blamed for 2015 fatal Alaska crash

    by Associated Press on Apr 25, 11:43

    ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) – The Latest on a National Transportation Safety Board determination about the causes of a fatal 2015 sightseeing flight in Alaska (all times local): 1:20 p.m. A company that bought the assets of an Alaska flying service after a fatal 2015 crash says it’s following a rigorous safety protocol. Taquan (TAH-kwan) Air […]

  • News

    APD asks for public’s help finding missing man

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Apr 25, 11:31

    Have you seen 27-year-old Seth Q. Harrison? The Anchorage Police Department is asking for the public’s help locating him. The agency said there are concerns for his well-being. According to a release from APD, Harrison was last seen at his home in the Lake Otis Parkway and Dowling Road area at 8 p.m. Monday. Police […]

  • News

    Alaska educators form ‘unprecedented’ united front against Senate cuts to education

    by Daniella Rivera on Apr 25, 9:25

    Forming what they call an “unprecedented united front,” public school officials from across the state — including Anchorage and Mat-Su Borough school districts — held a joint press conference Monday evening with a message for lawmakers. “We are here collectively to say we can and we must do better when it comes to funding public […]

  • Weather

    Soggy Seattle lives up to name, breaks another rain record

    by Associated Press on Apr 25, 8:46

    SEATTLE (AP) – Soggy Seattle has broken another rainfall record. The National Weather Service says the city measured 44.67 inches (114 centimeters) of rain between October and so far in April. That makes it the wettest such period since records began in 1895. Meteorologist Mike McFarland in the service’s Seattle office says it’s the second […]