• Forecast
  • News Tip
  • Categories
Temperature Precipitation
Estimated read time
2m 23s

Natural gas pipeline and education legislation introduced

By Rhonda McBride 9:21 PM January 24, 2014

Senate Bills 138 and 139 were introduced on the Senate floor Friday morning

JUNEAU – Gov. Sean Parnell introduced two major pieces of legislation Friday. One is a road map for the building of a liquefied natural gas pipeline. The other is a package of education reform bills he promoted during his State of the State address Wednesday.

Both were introduced on the Senate floor Friday morning, marking the end of a hectic first week for lawmakers.

The roll out of the governor’s natural gas pipeline legislation, Senate Bill 138, has been low key, upstaged by his education bills. But what’s outlined in this 49-page, highly technical piece of legislation could have a far-reaching impact on the state treasury and jobs for Alaskans.

The measure sets the stage for the state to partner with natural gas producers to build the pipeline. It would create a state-owned company to work with natural gas producers, as well as change the tax structure for gas by switching from a “net” to a “gross” system of taxation.

It would also authorize the Department of Natural Resources commissioner to negotiate with producers.

The cost of building a pipeline could range from $45 billion to $65 billion. The Parnell administration said the state’s share of the investment should range from 20 to 25 percent, or about $9 to $11 billion dollars.

Some lawmakers want the state to have a bigger share of the ownership, so the state can have more control of the project. Others warn that more investment means more risk.

Hearings on this measure will begin next week. Both Republicans and Democrats were slow to react. They said they needed time to go over the bill to understand its implications.

The governor’s education bill generated more controversy. Senate Bill 139 includes an increase in the Base Student Allocation (BSA) — the amount of money the state sets aside for each Alaska student’s education.

The governor has been resistant to raising this rate, but said he would increase the BSA by about $200, spread out over the next three years.

Democrats reacted angrily and said this would not stem the massive layoffs planned in school districts across the state because the governor is only providing a quarter of what is needed.

A number of Republicans weren’t sure about their support for the BSA increase, but for different reasons. Some believe  the legislature has already done enough by steadily increasing funding for education in other areas.

Earlier the governor said the BSA would be subject to negotiation and tied to some of the other reforms in SB 139, such as more support for vocational and technical education, charter schools and regional boarding schools. It also scraps the high school exit exam and sets money aside for digital innovation.

The governor also wants the legislature to put a constitutional amendment on the ballot that would clear the way for students in private schools to receive public money for their education.

Latest Stories

  • News

    Huslia board of fisheries member reappointed

    by Associated Press on Mar 31, 8:44

    Orville Huntington has been re-appointed to another term on the Alaska Board of Fisheries. Gov. Bill Walker appointed Huntington, a Huslia resident, to a three-year term that would begin July 1. The appointment must be confirmed by the Legislature. Huntington was first appointed to the board by former Gov. Sean Parnell in 2012. His current […]

  • Weather

    Daybreak weather, March 31

    by Brett Shepard on Mar 31, 8:27

    Southcentral Mostly cloudy skies today with a good chance of rain showers for the Prince William Sound and eastern Kenai Peninsula. Southeast Cloudy skies with a good chance of rain at times. Interior Partly cloudy skies and mild. North Slope Mostly cloudy skies throughout the day. Western Alaska Chilly to the north and mild to […]

  • On-Air

    Mystery disease: Fingernails tell all

    by Ivanhoe Newswire on Mar 31, 7:36

    Imagine losing your hair, vomiting every time you ate and living in extreme pain. Now, imagine if doctors couldn’t help you because they couldn’t figure out what was wrong. That’s exactly what happened to one woman — art teacher, Ingrid Dick. Dick says she loves watching her students at work, “just seeing what comes out of […]

  • Politics

    House poised to consider school bond bill

    by Associated Press on Mar 31, 6:52

    The Alaska House is poised to consider legislation that would pause state spending on new school debt. SB 64 passed the Senate last week. A legislative attorney, in a memo to Senate Finance co-chair Anna MacKinnon, says the bill would have to pass the Legislature and be signed by the governor before an Anchorage election […]

  • Lifestyle

    Drone development in Alaska still on track

    by Kate McPherson on Mar 30, 23:23

    Funding cuts to the University of Alaska system threatened the state’s unmanned aircraft development program, but a Senate subcommittee restored the nearly $1.9 million needed for fiscal year 2016. There are still a number of steps in the legislative process before the funding is confirmed, but staff and engineers with the Alaska Center for Unmanned […]

  • Sports

    Annie Rush gets hat trick as West beats East, 4-0

    by KTVA Sports on Mar 30, 22:46

    It was not until the second half of the game when the West Anchorage High School girls soccer team started pulling away from East High during Monday’s 4-0 win over the T-Birds. But when it rained it poured, as Annie Rush scored three goals and her sister, Rosie, added another. Less than five minutes into […]

  • News

    Couple in Homer proposes yurts for Alaska’s homeless

    by Shannon Ballard on Mar 30, 21:20

    Housing first — the idea is to offer permanent, affordable housing for the homeless to stop them from ending up back on the streets. It sounds simple enough and appears to be working to end chronic homelessness in other parts of the country. Now, a Homer couple is putting their own twist on the concept. When […]

  • Lifestyle

    In Anchorage, pop-up studio brings art to you

    by Heather Hintze on Mar 30, 19:27

    It’s a night out with cocktails and canvas. On a recent weekday night, SubZero Bistro and Microlounge was full of pop-up painters. “We are painting wine glasses, which is really appropriate, we’re at SubZero,” explained Larissa Villar Aaberg. “They have a still life on their table, so they can paint from a picture or the […]