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The Latest: Alaska gov: No plans to call a special session

May 13, 2018

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — The Latest on the extended Alaska legislative session (all times local):

3:05 a.m.

Gov. Bill Walker says he has no plans to call Alaska legislators into a special session this year.

Walker told reporters that’s a testament to the work lawmakers achieved during the just-ended extended session.

Lawmakers adjourned early Sunday morning, after passing the state operating and capital budgets and numerous other bills.

Walker said he was pleased with the passage of bills addressing education funding and crime in Alaska.

He also praised passage of legislation that seeks to limit how much can be withdrawn from Alaska Permanent Fund earnings. That bill is a major piece of a plan to address Alaska’s budget deficit.

The tone of this session was noticeably different from the past several years, which featured drawn-out special sessions and were marked by bitter fights over taxes and spending.

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1:50 a.m.

Alaska lawmakers have ended the extended legislative session.

Adjournment by both the Senate and House came early Sunday morning.

Floor sessions didn’t begin until Saturday afternoon. But legislators powered through a to-do list that included finalizing two major bills — the operating and capital budgets — and a spate of other measures.

Tentative agreement had been reached on the operating budget earlier in the week but final approval was needed by the full House and Senate. That came Saturday.

The House Finance Committee completed its work on the capital budget late Saturday, sending it to the House floor for debate. The Senate agreed to the House version.

Lawmakers went past the 90-day, voter-approved session limit but finished within the constitutional time limit for regular sessions

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1:30 a.m.

The Alaska Senate has adjourned from the extended legislative session.

Senate adjournment came early Sunday morning. The House was expected to follow suit.

Legislators powered through a to-do list that included finalizing two major bills: the operating and capital budgets.

Tentative agreement had been reached on the operating budget earlier in the week but final approval was needed by the full House and Senate. That came Saturday.

House Finance completed its work on the capital budget late Saturday, sending it to the House floor for debate and approval. The Senate then agreed to the House version of the bill.

Lawmakers were within the constitutional time limit for regular sessions but wanted to wrap up this weekend

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12:45 a.m.

The Alaska Legislature has passed a state capital budget.

The bill was the last major piece lawmakers needed to complete before they could end the extended legislative session. Adjournment was pending.

The House passed its version of the capital budget late Saturday; the Senate signed off on it early Sunday.

The bill includes infrastructure, health and safety projects. It also includes additional school funding.

It includes money for two infrastructure projects that Gov. Bill Walker had previously halted — the Knik Arm crossing and the Juneau access road project.

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12:35 a.m.

The Alaska Legislature has passed a statewide smoke-free workplace bill.

A version of the bill passed the Senate last year. But it was stuck in the House Rules Committee for months this session. The committee’s chairwoman, Gabrielle LeDoux, schedules bills for the floor. But she had refused to move it before Saturday.

The bill passed the House 32-7 on Saturday. LeDoux was among the dissenting votes. It passed the Senate early Sunday morning.

The measure would bar smoking on buses and in cabs, and in places including office buildings, hotels, restaurants, bars and shops. It also restricts outdoor smoking in certain areas.

The bill would allow communities to opt out of the proposed law via local elections.

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11:05 p.m.

The Alaska House has passed a state capital budget that includes additional school funding and money for infrastructure projects Gov. Bill Walker previously halted.

The education money includes an additional $20 million for public schools and $6 million over two years for pre-kindergarten programs.

The Senate must give final approval.

The package also includes funding toward the Knik Arm crossing and a project to help connect Juneau to the road system. Walker previously halted new funding for both.

The bill also includes $28 million for Medicaid. Walker’s budget director says that falls short of what was requested and could result in delayed provider payments.

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5:45 p.m.

The Alaska Legislature has approved a compromise state operating budget.

House and Senate negotiators earlier this week reached a tentative deal on the budget. But it had yet to be finalized.

Both the House and Senate agreed to the package Saturday.

The budget would be funded, in part, with earnings from the Alaska Permanent Fund and with savings from the state’s constitutional budget reserve.

The measure was one of the last big items left to be addressed in the extended legislative session. The capital budget remained unresolved.

Legislative leaders were aiming to complete their work Saturday.

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5:05 p.m.

The Alaska House has passed a statewide smoke-free workplace bill.

A version of the bill passed the Senate last year. But it was stuck in the House Rules Committee for months this session. The committee’s chairwoman, who schedules bills for the floor, had refused to move it before Saturday.

The bill passed 32-7. House Rules Chair Gabrielle LeDoux was among the dissenting votes.

The Senate must give final approval of the measure, which was changed in LeDoux’s committee to allow communities to opt out of the proposed law via local elections.

The measure would bar smoking on buses and in cabs, and in places including office buildings, hotels, restaurants, bars and shops. It also restricts outdoor smoking in certain areas.

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4:20 p.m.

The Alaska Senate has approved a compromise state operating budget.

House and Senate negotiators earlier this week reached a tentative deal on the budget. But it had yet to be finalized.

The House still must vote on whether to accept the package.

The operating budget is one of the last major pieces in the extended legislative session. The capital budget is also unresolved.

Legislative leaders are aiming to end the session Saturday.

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3:05 p.m.

The president of the Alaska Senate says Saturday will be the last day of the extended legislative session.

Senate President Pete Kelly made the comment at the start of the Senate floor session.

Two major pieces remained on the legislative agenda: the operating and capital budgets.

Lawmakers worked past the 90-day, voter-approved session limit in mid-April but are still within the 121-day constitutional limit for regular sessions.

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2:05 p.m.

Alaska legislators are aiming to complete their work this weekend.

Two major pieces remained in play: the operating and capital budgets.

Tentative agreement was reached earlier this week on the operating budget. But the full House and Senate still have to sign off on it.

The House is working on its version of the capital budget, which it will need to send to the House floor for debate. The Senate will need to decide whether to agree to the House version.

Senate Majority Leader Peter Micciche (mih-CHIK-ee) says he thinks the House and Senate are close to finishing.

Lawmakers worked past the 90-day, voter approved session in mid-April. The constitution permits regular sessions of up to 121 days, a limit that would be reached Wednesday.

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10:50 a.m.

The Alaska Legislature has passed an update to conflict of interest rules that could have implications for a similar ballot measure.

The bill would require approval for legislative travel outside the United States. It would prohibit lobbyists from buying legislators alcohol and restrict food purchases.

Legislators currently are eligible for a daily allowance during session. But under the bill, if a budget isn’t passed within the 121-day constitutional limit for a regular session, the allowance would be cut off from that point until a budget passes.

The measure contains language similar to the initiative. It was supported by two of the initiative’s backers, Reps. Jason Grenn and Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins.

If the bill is deemed to be substantially similar to the initiative, the initiative would be bumped from the ballot.

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