Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Legislature Starts and I'm in Anchorage

Last year I was in Juneau when the legislature was in session.  It isn't happening this year, but that's no reason not to keep informed.  BASIS lets you find out a lot of what is going on and much of the legislature is available live (and replay) through your cable. And on line.

You can also track the bills submitted. Bills  .    As of today, 165 bills have been submitted - 110 by House members (there are 40 of them) and 55 by Senate members (there are 20 of them). Did they plan that perfect 2:1 ratio? I doubt it.

Having trouble keeping up with the jargon?  No problem.  On the publications page, in addition to many other documents, there is a glossary.(pdf)

In the glossary you'd find out that a resolution is:
Expression of the will, wish, or direction of the Legislature. A resolution generally does not have the effect of law (see Uni- form Rule 49).
There were four introduced and passed already in the house.  Five introduced and four passed from the Senate.  (I'm assuming that the four that passed were introduced as identical resolutions in both houses, but we can check on that too, below.)

A concurrent resolution is:
Similar to the simple resolution, but reflects the will, wish, view, or decision of both houses speaking concurrently.

And a joint resolution is:
The most formal type of resolution, adopted by both houses, and signed by the Governor as a ministerial formality. It is accorded many of the formalities of a bill but is not subject to veto.   Mainly used to express the view or wish of the Legislature to the President, Congress, or agencies of the U.S. government or the governments of other states. It is required for proposing or ratifying amendments to the U.S. or Alaska Constitution.

Either BASIS is not up-to-date yet or I can't figure out how to find what I need.  I couldn't find any legislation introduced on the House side.  There is a list of Senate bills and resolutions.  I looked up Senate resolutions passed and got only one - SR1 (Senate Resolution 1). (Jrn refers to the journal which records all actions)

01/18/110011(S)READ THE FIRST TIME
01/18/110011(S)FN1: ZERO(S.RLS)
01/18/110012(S)PASSED Y20 N-

If you click on any of the Jrn-Page links above you'll find out that SR1
1-18-2011 Senate Journal 0012

The question being: "Shall SENATE RESOLUTION NO. 1

Establishing a Senate Special Committee on World Trade, pass the

Senate?" The roll was taken with the following result:
SR 1
Final Passage

YEAS:  20   NAYS:  0   EXCUSED:  0   ABSENT:  0 

Yeas:  Coghill, Davis, Dyson, Egan, Ellis, French, Giessel, Hoffman,
Huggins, Kookesh, McGuire, Menard, Meyer, Olson, Paskvan,
Stedman, Stevens, Thomas, Wagoner, Wielechowski

and so, SENATE RESOLUTION NO. 1 passed the Senate and was
referred to the Secretary for engrossment and enrollment.
Despite all I've said about this being available online, it's a lot easier if one is there hanging around the committee meetings.  I think the easiest, if you aren't there, is to have cable on in the background and check now and then.  If there is something interesting, you can go to BASIS and look up the exact wording of the bill or resolution.  

Also, there are other blogs that cover bits and pieces.

Shana Crondahl - who I met through her comments here, but never in person - set up Alaska Education Update last session and it's up again this year.  It's a teaser for a more in-depth reports on education issues in the legislature that you have to pay for.   (Nothing wrong with that.)  Right now it seems you can see the pay-site for two weeks for free.

There have been other subscription sites as well, but I need to track them down. 

Below are some legislators' blogs I could find.  It's not clear whether they will keep these up-to-date or not.  And there may well be more than this.  I tried to find which legislators blogged last year and Bob Lynn and Mike Doogan seemed to be the only ones who had independently set up their own blogs.  But the one I found for Doogan didn't seem to be current.  While a legislative blog is more likely to be a PR forum, some legislators - Lynn and Coghill below - actually write like bloggers.  Munoz's is more lists and short bulletins rather than personal observation and discussion. 

Rep. Lynn's Blog (Last post Nov. 2010)

Rep. Munoz Blog  (Last post Jan 2010)

Sen. Coghill Blog (last post July 2010)

1 comment:

  1. thanks for the shout out! I always enjoy your blog. Your postings are very thoughtful. Actually, your blog inspired me to start my own. I bet you have inspired a lot of people.
    Shana Crondahl


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