Well, we’re done. We accomplished what we said we needed to in the operating budget, and took care of a lot of the wants in different bills and the capital budget. Obviously, one night’s sleep isn’t enough time for careful reflection or analysis just yet. Instead, here are some of the items we’ve worked up on adjournment for the first special session and regular session. Juneau is a wonderful town, and the weather was mostly good over the extra 27 days, but I hope to be back on the KP for a while and reconnect with my wife, kids and friends.
With that, here is the Caucus press release following sine die adjournment, accomplishments by Guiding Principle, and the text of my prepared remarks for our press conference last night, which you can listen to here. The remarks:
The House has insisted on strong public process all session. We’ve heard bills that have been brought before us, by our own members and by the governor. We’ve given the public and other interested people time to review changes we’ve made, and we’ve taken their comments under consideration.
The capital budget may be the strongest example of good public process, even with the odds stacked against the House.
The Senate held its versions for 112 days before the House got a solid look at what was inside. The House was held hostage – make us a promise you won’t change anything, or we won’t hand it over. The Senate eventually moved the capital budget without that guarantee.
House Finance Committee had the capital budget for approximately 120 hours. The Senate held the bill for 112 days before taking action and passing it to the House.
House Finance held hearings including more than 6 hours of public testimony. The House Finance Committee also held hearings on the most controversial parts, particularly the Senate’s language binding energy projects together.
In addition, the House Energy and Resources Committees held more than 11 hours of hearings over a two day period to vet the energy projects included in the Senate’s version of the capital budget.
The House Judiciary Committee held a hearing lasting three hours to go a little deeper into the constitutionality of the Senate’s proposed language.
If the House had time to do all this, in a public forum, in 120 hours, surely the other body could have managed their process in 112 days.
The Senate’s members, and the House’s members, have had time to understand what’s in the budget and what isn’t. There are no last-minute changes, no new versions held until the final hour.
Most capital budgets aren’t conferenced; the last time a conference committee for the capital budget was held was in 2004.
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I’m sure we’ll be in touch, and posting on here, some time soon. I look forward to getting home and back out in the community to talk about the good we did and talk about some of the decisions we made. Plus, there’s always preparations for next January. Please feel free to get in touch with my office here if you have any thoughts, questions or concerns.