Senate president mulls options for session beyond 90 days
Senate President Kevin Meyer says he’s met with House Speaker Mike Chenault to talk about possible scenarios for wrapping up the legislative session, scheduled to end on Sunday at midnight.
“We were just kind of making some contingency, not plans, but thoughts,” Meyer said. “What would we do come midnight on Sunday and these bills are still unresolved?”
The House has been holding what legislators call a key piece of legislation on oil tax reform, House Bill 247, since Wednesday. Chenault said many of his members aren’t willing to vote on other parts of the governor’s fiscal plan, including changes to the Permanent Fund dividend program, until that piece is in place.
Meyer said one possibility is to gavel out and ask the governor to call lawmakers into a special session.
“But I don’t know that we would need to do that,” Meyer said. “Because we can extend ourselves. So I think the bigger question now is just where would you extend yourself if you need to, whether you stay here or you go elsewhere.”
The Anchorage Republican said he’d prefer to move to Anchorage.
“That’s where the bulk of the legislators live. Certainly where the bulk of our constituents are and just knowing what a mess this is going to be here in Juneau soon, it’s probably best that we leave here,” said Meyer, who added that Fairbanks is another alternative location that has come up in conversation.
How soon the Legislature might move, Meyer said, will depend on how leadership is feeling Sunday.
“If we just have a couple more days, we’re gonna get the ‘all done’ and then we can adjourn, be out of here, or if it feels like this is gonna take a while then we may want to gavel out and then come back in three to four days so everybody has a chance to pack up their stuff here and then move to wherever we’re going,” he said.
The Legislature is required by law to meet every three days. But Meyer said holding a technical session, with a minimal number of members, is a possibility if legislators wanted more time in between a move.
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