Monday, February 21, 2011

Cissna Ferries To Juneau and Other News from the Capitol

Some notes while walking through the Capitol Building today.

Rep. Cissna Says No to Airport Pat Down

Traveling and staying with friends, I haven't heard any news for a couple of days, so when I was in Sharon Cissna's office and meeting her new staff person Marie, she was a little amused that a blogger didn't realize he was in the eye of the storm. That's where I learned that Rep. Cissna is a national news item for refusing to be patted down by TSA. Marie was answering phone calls from news outlets and having to say, "Sorry, I can't tell you any more than you know, because I don't know." Readers of this blog know that I find TSA's strategy to be serious lacking.

While Marie was not answering questions, Time magazine was saying that Cissna was going to take the Alaska ferry to Juneau.  I heard from others as I walked the halls that  Rep. Cissna is on an Alaska ferry and should arrive in Juneau Wednesday.  Time got this response from TSA:
. . . the TSA issued a general statement that they are "sensitive to the concerns of passengers who were not satisfied with their screening experience." Whatever Cissna's reason for declining to fly, we can only imagine it was worthy enough of enduring the 1,000 mile + journey to Juneau by sea.
I'm in Juneau, so people reading this listening to the radio and watching TV probably know more about this than I do.

Coastal Zone Management

Gov. Sean Parnell has allowed the CZM regulations put in place by Gov. Murkowski,  to continue for another six years.   I'm told, that local governments were pretty much cut out of any say over what happens on their coasts and the state has all the authority.  But in response to a question asked at a State Chamber of Commerce luncheon, apparently backtracked on this.   (Sorry I'm vague here, this is my first day, and I'll have a firmer grasp of things as days go by.  I'm trying to give a sense of things I heard as I talked to folks.  House Bill 106 as I understand it, is an attempt to make the renewal much shorter.
"An Act extending the termination date of the Alaska coastal management program and relating to the extension; relating to the review of activities of the Alaska coastal management program; providing for an effective date by amending the effective date of sec. 22, ch. 31, SLA 2005; and providing for an effective date." 
Or Senate Bill 56
"An Act extending by one year the date the Alaska coastal management program will be subject to termination under the statute establishing a procedure for evaluation of agency programs and activities; providing for an effective date by delaying the effective date of the repeal of the program; and providing for an effective date." 
These bills are not easy to understand.  I need to get more information.  

Jay Ramras,  former legislator, is making money in Fairbanks and Southern California and has taken up gardening.

North Slope Facilities Access - Rep. Gutenberg is sponsoring a bill to give companies not already on the Slope access to facilities.  OK, that isn't completely clear, but I'm trying to give you a sense of being here and getting lots of information very fast and trying to put things into context.  What I understood was that the current companies are making it difficult for companies that don't have facilities necessary for getting oil and gas to market. HB 138, from what I see, adds certain oil and gas facilities, whether publicly or privately owned, to the list of public utilities regulated by the Regulatory Commission of Alaska.  The specific activities added to the statute in this bill would be:
(H) furnishing, to the public for compensation, the service
12 of
13 (i) oil, gas, and water separation;
14 (ii) gas dehydration, compression, and reinjection;
15 (iii) natural gas liquid production; or
16 (iv) water treatment and reinjection;

Restricting Drivers' Licenses for Non-residents to the length of their US visas.

House Bill 3 is sponsored by State Affairs Chair Rep. Bob Lynn and a bunch of others:
REPRESENTATIVE(s) LYNN, HAWKER, CHENAULT, JOHNSON, GATTO, Millett, Thompson, Fairclough, Keller, P.Wilson, Olson, Pruitt, Dick, Saddler, T.Wilson, Doogan 
Does having Doogan as a co-sponsor make this a bi-partisan bill?  Maybe now that Eric Cordero  has become a Republican, he can have some influence on his new party's views on this.    Here's the the whole bill:
01 "An Act relating to issuance of driver's licenses."
03 * Section 1. AS 28.15.101 is amended by adding a new subsection to read:
04 (d) Under regulations adopted by the department, the department may issue to
05 a person a driver's license with a duration of less than five years if the person is
06 authorized to stay in the United States for less than five years or the period of
07 authorized stay is indefinite. The department shall issue the license for the period of
08 the authorized stay. If the period of authorized stay is indefinite, the department may
09 not issue the license with a validity of greater than one year.
I notice that although Rep. Millet is a co-sponsor, Rep. Johansen voted NR ("no recommendation") rather than DP ("do pass") when it was heard in the House State Affairs committee.

Divesting Investments in Iran, the Sequel 

Rep. Gatto has reintroduced his bill to Divest State Holdings in companies doing business in Iran, though I was told a major supporter of the bill last year, David Gottstein, has changed his stance on this as a strategy given changes in the international situation.
[Update Feb. 22: I ran into David Gottstein on the stairwell in the Capitol today and asked him about this.  My informant wasn't well informed.  He said that he still supports the divestment, but that his focus is on gas pipeline and so he thought there wasn't enough time in the 90 day session to get the divestment bill through.]  The summary of HB 2:
"An Act relating to certain investments of the Alaska permanent fund, the state's retirement systems, the State of Alaska Supplemental Annuity Plan, and the deferred compensation program for state employees in certain companies that do business in Iran, and restricting those investments; and providing for an effective date."
You can read all of HB 2 here.  You can see my account of the debate in the State Affairs Committee where Gatto was a member and where the bill failed last year.  A problem that Republicans had with the bill was that it would require the state to stop doing business with major oil related companies that are doing things in Alaska. 

That should give you enough to chew on. 

If anyone is asking, yes, I'm back in Juneau - as Harpboy so precisely commented in my previous post Where's This?  And back in the Capitol.  But only for a few weeks this year.  Some good friends have offered me a place to sleep - and since I'm not an employee of the legislature, or even a volunteer, I can accept their offer - and I'll blog the Legislature while I'm here.  But I want them to continue to be good friends so I can't mooch off them for too long. 

It's a spectacularly beautiful today in Juneau.  More fresh snow and a brilliantly blue sky. (I didn't bring my card reader with me to the Capitol so I can't post pictures, but I will.)   I can tell how much I learned last year as I walked over to what are now familiar digs. So I walked around and visited different offices to let people know I was here and find out what people think is important this year. So, this is just a very superficial first take.


  1. Is Jay Ramras not a legislature any more?

  2. Rep. Cissna was returning from undergoing a mastectomy. After watching her on their porno scanner, they wanted her to undergo a highly intrusive groping, which she rightly refused. This kind of insensitivity toward someone who has just undergone a mastectomy is typical of the idiocy of our Department of Homeland Insecurity.

    Someone at TSA owes Rep. Cissna and all their other victims with medical conditions a big apology. Shame on Obama and our congresscritters for letting this silly charade continue, and congrats to Rep. Cissna for not putting up with this bullshit.

  3. Anon, Jay Ramras ran for Lt. Governor in the Republican primary and thus could not run for reelection. And he lost the primary to the current Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell.

    Thanks for filling in more info Harpboy.


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