Getting off on the right foot

  • Thursday, October 22, 2015 5:07pm
  • Opinion

One more, with feeling.

The Alaska Legislature is set to convene its third special session of the year, this time to take up Alaska LNG Project issues. Gov. Bill Walker has proposed that the state buy out TransCanada’s stake in the project, and pitched a gas reserves tax measure for lawmakers to consider.

Unfortunately, lawmakers aren’t yet sure what they will be considering as the administration had not yet released any bills on either subject. And on Wednesday, legislative leaders announced the session would start with committee hearings at the Capitol, rather than the hours-long briefing planned by the administration.

And here we go again.

The governor and the Legislature, it seems, are just not capable of starting anything off on the right foot. You certainly can’t blame legislators from wanting to see bills ahead of the session. Legislative leaders already feel as though they’ve been blind-sided by the reserves tax measure; what other surprises will be waiting for them in Juneau?

Likewise, this is not the first time the governor has made something a legislative priority — but failed to provide the legislation for it. Remember Medicaid expansion? It was a central part of Gov. Walker’s campaign, yet when the Legislature convened in January, he apparently just assumed lawmakers would work out the details. A Medicaid expansion bill wasn’t introduced until March 17 — with about a month left in a regular session that also included marijuana legalization and a budget crisis. When lawmakers didn’t jump on Medicaid expansion, Gov. Walker opted to go it alone, leading to a lawsuit asserting that the governor had overstepped his authority.

Alaska LNG is too big a project — and too crucial to Alaska’s future — to go down the same path.

For his part, Gov. Walker at a Wednesday press conference told reporters that he is “optimistic that once we actually sit down at same table and start having discussions, it will be a productive process.”

We hope that’s the case.

More in Opinion

Gov. Mike Dunleavy discusses his veto of a wide-ranging education bill during a press conference March 16 at the Alaska State Capitol. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire file photo)
Governor, please pay more attention to Alaskans

Our governor has been a busy guy on big issues.

A roll of “I voted” stickers sit at the Alaska Division of Elections office in Juneau in 2022. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire File)
Strengthening democracy: Native vote partners to boost voter registration

GOTNV and VPC are partnering to send over 4,000 voter registration applications this month to addresses and P.O. boxes all over Alaska

Priya Helweg is the acting regional director and executive officer for the Region 10 Office of Intergovernmental and External Affairs, Office of the Secretary, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (Photo courtesy U.S. Department of Health and Human Services)
Happy Pride Month

This month is dedicated to acknowledging and uplifting the voices and experiences of the LGBTQI+ community

Hiroko Masuike/The New York Times
Former President Donald Trump arrives at Trump Tower after he was found guilty of all counts in his criminal trial in New York on May 30.
Opinion: Trump’s new fixers

Fixers from Alaska and elsewhere step in after guilty verdict

Ballot booths are set up inside Kenai City Hall on Thursday, Sept. 29, 2022, in Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Perspective from an election worker

Here is what I know about our Kenai Peninsula Borough election system

Apayauq Reitan, the first transgender woman to participate in the Iditarod, tells the House Education Committee on March 30, 2023, why she opposes a bill restricting transgender rights. (Mark Sabbatini/Juneau Empire file photo)
Opinion: The imaginary transgender sports crisis

House Bill 183 is a right-wing solution to a problem that doesn’t exist now and never will.

Sen. Jesse Bjorkman, a Nikiski Republican, speaks in favor of overriding a veto of Senate Bill 140 during floor debate of a joint session of the Alaska State Legislature on Monday, March 18, 2024. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Sen. Jesse Bjorkman: Session ends with budget, dividend and bills passed

Capitol Corner: Legislators report back from Juneau

The Alaska State Capitol. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire file photo)
Listen to PAs; support Senate Bill 115: Modernizing PA Practice in Alaska

Health care is rapidly evolving, demanding a more flexible and responsive system

Mount Redoubt can be seen across Cook Inlet from North Kenai Beach on Thursday, July 2, 2022. (Erin Thompson/Peninsula Clarion file photo)
Opinion: Hilcorp Alaska: Powering Southcentral Alaska — past, present and future

Hilcorp Alaska has and will continue to fully develop our Cook Inlet basin leasehold

Sen. Jesse Bjorkman, a Nikiski Republican, speaks in favor of overriding a veto of Senate Bill 140 during floor debate of a joint session of the Alaska State Legislature on Monday, March 18, 2024 (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Sen. Jesse Bjorkman: Collegiality matters

Capitol Corner: Legislators report back from Juneau

Juneau Empire file photo
Larry Persily.
Opinion: Alaska might as well embrace the past

The governor, legislators, municipal officials and business leaders are worried that the Railbelt will run short of natural gas before the end of the decade