Rep. Bryce Edgmon, I-Dillingham, speaks to colleagues on Friday, Feb 12, 2021. Edgmon, who served as speaker of the house in 31st Legislature, was named Monday as a co-chair of the House Finance Committee. A full list of committee assignments is expected soon. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire)

Rep. Bryce Edgmon, I-Dillingham, speaks to colleagues on Friday, Feb 12, 2021. Edgmon, who served as speaker of the house in 31st Legislature, was named Monday as a co-chair of the House Finance Committee. A full list of committee assignments is expected soon. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire)

House on verge of organizing

Some leadership has been named

The Alaska House of Representatives inched closer to organization Monday after lawmakers approved the makeup of a group tasked with giving out committee assignments.

House Speaker Louise Stutes, R-Kodiak and Reps. Bryce Edgmon, I-Dillingham, Neal Foster, D-Nome; Chris Tuck, D-Anchorage; Kelly Merrick, R-Eagle River; Sara Rasmussen, R-Anchorage and Mike Cronk, R-Tok/Northway were approved as members of the Committee on Committees.

Tuck will also serve as Majority Leader, according to Austin Baird, spokesperson for the House Coalition. Edgmon and Merrick will serve as co-chairs on the House Finance Committee, he said.

The Committee on Committee report is typically issued within 24 hours of a Speaker being elected, but only 19 lawmakers, which is not enough for a quorum to do business, were present for Friday’s floor session. Republican lawmakers in the House tried to object to the committee list, but three of their members, Reps. Laddie Shaw, R-Anchorage; Steve Thompson, R-Fairbanks; and Bart LeBon, R-Fairbanks, were absent. Members adjourned until 10 a.m. Tuesday.

[Disaster declaration deadline looms]

Stutes was elected speaker by a narrow majority, but an organized caucus has not yet been formed. Shortly after voting for Stutes, Rep. Kelly Merrick, R-Eagle River, released a statement saying she had not joined the “House Coalition” that consists of mostly Democrats, three independents and Stutes as the lone Republican.

A simple majority vote is needed to pass a proposal for the make-up of the Committee on Committees, which has the power to assign committee chairmanships. Chairmanships allow lawmakers control over what bills are heard and thus make it to the floor for a vote. Until committee assignments are given, legislative work in the House can’t fully begin. The full report is expected soon, according to Baird.

• Contact reporter Peter Segall at Follow him on Twitter at @SegallJnuEmpire.

More in News

Alaska Department of Fish and Game logo. (Graphic by Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Board of Fisheries approves Kenai River king salmon action plan

The plan adds bait restrictions for in-river fisheries, doubles the sport bag limit for sockeye salmon, and adds a swath of restrictions to the commercial setnet fishery

The Kenai Municipal Airport is seen on Friday, Oct. 6, 2023. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
New Grant Aviation planes to double service’s flight capacity

The first of two Cessna 208B EX Grand Caravans will start transporting passengers on Monday

Stickers are available for voters at the Kenai No. 1 precinct for Election Day on Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2021. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)
Soldotna to hold ‘I Voted’ sticker design contest

City council members approved the program during their Wednesday night meeting

Rep. Justin Ruffridge, R-Soldotna, speaks in support of a bill increasing state funds for public education in the Alaska House of Representatives on Thursday, Feb. 22, 2024 in Juneau, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Bill seeking to bump use of Alaska Performance Scholarship clears the House with unanimous support

The money is awarded to high-performing high school graduates to help pay for postsecondary education at participating institutions in Alaska

Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities Commissioner Ryan Anderson answers questions from state senators during a Senate Finance Committee hearing on Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2024 in Juneau, Alaska. (Mark Sabbatini/Juneau Empire)
State officials working to meet Friday deadline for revised transportation plan

The federal government rejected the plan on Feb. 9, citing numerous deficiencies

Travis Every, top left, speaks in support of fishing opportunity for the east side setnet fishery before the State Board of Fisheries at the Egan Convention Center in Anchorage, Alaska, on Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Local fishers talk conservation, opportunity before Board of Fisheries in Anchorage

Local fishers from the Kenai Peninsula traveled to Anchorage this weekend to… Continue reading

Sen. Jesse Bjorkman, R-Nikiski, presents information on a bill establishing a voluntary buyback program for Cook Inlet’s east side setnet fishery on Monday, Feb. 19, 2024, in Juneau, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Bjorkman bill would pay bonuses to nationally certified teachers

The Alaska Department of Education and Early Development estimates that the bonus program would apply to about 215 of Alaska’s estimated 7,315 teachers — about 3%

Alaska senators meet with members of the media to discuss education legislation after a press conference by Gov. Mike Dunleavy on the topic on Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2024, in Juneau, Alaska. (Mark Sabbatini/Juneau Empire)
Dunleavy threatens veto of education bill if more of his priorities aren’t added

It is not certain there would be the 40 votes necessary to override a veto by the governor

A map displays a wide-ranging special weather statement, published Tuesday by the National Weather Service, covering Southcentral Alaska. (Map courtesy of National Weather Service)
Strong winds, low wind chills forecast through Friday

Wind chills over night may reach as low as -20 to -40 degrees in much of Southcentral

Most Read