Alaska House proposes suspension of all non-budget work
Updated at 2:30 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 8
JUNEAU — The House Rules Committee introduced a resolution (HCR 23) Monday to suspend the hearing of any non-budget, non-revenue generating bills until the passage of an operating budget.
The House cancelled all non-budget related committee meetings Monday, except for a hearing on Senate Bill 23, a bill to grant immunity for administering an opioid overdose drug, because of its immediate ability to save lives.
“Today could be a historic day in the House of Representatives,” said Democratic Rep. Bryce Edgmon, urging colleagues to adopt the measure.
Rep. Shelley Hughes says it’s an idea that makes sense, one many of her constituents had already presented to her.
“The public really wants us to focus on the budget,” said Rep. Hughes, who says there were people scheduled to testify in Juneau that would likely need to be notified of the new arrangements.
Rep. Kurt Olson says he’s not sure a resolution like this has ever been adopted in the legislature, questioning the resolution’s legality.
The resolution passed the House Monday afternoon with a vote of 38 – 1. Rep. Andrew Josephson, an Anchorage Democrat, voted against the proposal.
Rep. Josephson cited concerns with a provision in the resolution that reduces the public notice timeframe on bills from five days to 24 hours.
“Why does the resolution have to do away with the five-days notice?” Rep. Josephson asked his colleagues on the floor.
He said he understands that the House is anxious to schedule new budget-related bill hearings this week, but hopes the issue of public notice will be reconsidered.
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