|A sample from the Journal
Issues Update From AMA Executive Director Deantha Crockett
Thatís a wrap!
The first session of the 28th Legislature adjourned on time April 14, 2013. I personally wish the Legislators congratulations and hope they are getting some much deserved downtime.
AMA was extremely active this session. And thatís a great thing! Here are some highlights of legislation we were focused on:
SB1: establishing each May 10 as Alaska Mining Day, was signed into law by Governor Parnell. Thank you to Senator Cathy Giessel for sponsoring this important bill! Note: Mining Day will be celebrated at AMA events statewide, including the Anchorage, Fairbanks, and Juneau branch meetings that day. Stay tuned for coverage of those events.
SB2: Alaska to be a full member of the Interstate Mining Compact Commission. Thank you again to Senator Giessel for her sponsorship, as well as the Administration for their education on this legislation. This bill has been signed by Governor Parnell. Deputy Commissioner Ed Fogels was able to participate with full voting rights at a recent meeting of the IMCC.
SB27: State to pursue primacy of the Section 404 Dredge and Fill Permitting Program. Thank you to the Administration for introducing this bill and educating the public, and a special thank you to Commissioner Larry Hartig and Deputy Commissioner Lynn Kent for educating me on the history of Alaska assuming federal programs.
HB99: an Act extending the Minerals Commission by 10 years, in addition to setting designated terms for Commissioners. Thank you, Representative Dan Saddler, for your sponsorship of this bill!
SB21: oil tax reform passed both houses as well as a 12-8 Senate concurrent vote. Since then, ConocoPhillips has made an announcement of investment and increased production in Alaska as a result of this policy change.
HB4: a bill to initiate an in-state natural gas pipeline, passed both houses. Thank you to Speaker of the House Mike Chenault and Representative Mike Hawker for sponsoring this bill to bring natural gas to Alaskans and to outside markets.
HB77: the governorís permitting efficiency bill, will be taken up next session (2014). It did not have enough votes to pass this session, and there was much confusion on water reservations issues. DNR is contemplating what to do in the interim in order to garner support for streamlining parts of our permitting process. We will keep in touch with Legislators and DNR officials on education and outreach efforts moving forward.
Legislators put in an extraordinary amount of time and effort throughout the packed 90-day session. I imagine it is often a thankless job, and I believe we can change that. Please take the time to thank your Legislators, and in fact, all of them. Thank Legislators that sponsored and voted in favor on issues that are important to you, and even if they didnít vote the way you would have liked, thank them for the opportunity to have a conversation. Thank them early and thank them often.
I both thank you and apologize to you for inundating you with calls to action and requests to contact your legislators. I know it became frequent and you were more than likely tired of hearing from me, but you answered the calls and I am very proud of how AMA rallied lawmakers on issues important to us. Thank you so much. Our membership is truly the strength of AMA, and it is apparent with the accomplishments listed above.
As this concludes my first legislative session as AMA Executive Director, I would like to sincerely thank all of you. I could not be more grateful for your guidance, for the endless phone calls and emails walking me through the process and advising me what to do (and what not to do). It has been an education and I feel a great deal more prepared for what lies ahead.
Back to business. Happy Spring - itís not actually in Anchorage yet, as well as many other places in the state, but perhaps if we start saying it, it may make an appearance?