Alaska lawmakers’ Capital City plans still unclear

Sen. Dennis Egan speaks to the Juneau Chamber of Commerce on May 7, 2015. (Photo by Jeremy Hsieh/KTOO)
Sen. Dennis Egan speaks to the Juneau Chamber of Commerce on May 7, 2015. (Photo by Jeremy Hsieh/KTOO)

Alaska lawmakers are due back in Juneau on Tuesday, but who actually comes and how long they stay is unclear.

“It’s still up in the air,” says Juneau Sen. Dennis Egan.

He’s concerned his colleagues may not want to finish the special session in the capital city. Anchorage is already hosting some committee meetings this week.

A spokeswoman says Senate President Kevin Meyer intends to put out a memo Friday about the Senate’s meeting plans. Technical floor sessions, which don’t require a quorum and often last only a few seconds, are a possibility. Such sessions fulfill a constitutional obligation to keep the special session live.

House Speaker Mike Chenault said Thursday through a spokesman that he intends to hold floor sessions in Juneau, but is unsure about committee meetings.

“And they’re blaming it on construction at the Capitol building. Bull,” Egan says. “The City and Borough of Juneau has bent over backwards to provide space free of charge – free of charge – for the legislature to meet.”

Major earthquake renovations of the Capitol building have effectively put lawmakers and the governor out of their offices. But Egan says alternative space is ready.

Juneau Parks and Recreation has coordinated with the Juneau Arts and Humanities Council to free up its downtown arts and culture center for the legislature.

Jeremy Hsieh is the deputy managing editor of the KTOO newsroom in Juneau. He’s a podcast fiend who’s worked in journalism since high school as a reporter, editor and television producer. He ran Gavel Alaska for 360 North from 2011 to 2016, and is big on experimenting with novel tools and mediums (including the occasional animated gif) to tell stories and demystify the news. Jeremy’s an East Coast transplant who moved to Juneau in 2008.

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