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Sun May 19, 2019, 08:41 PM

What the Legislature left on the table: Ferries, addiction treatment, new revenue

During a legislative session that was defined by debates over the budget and crime reform, most other topics were put on the back burner until next year.

In terms of the number of bills that made it through the Legislature, this was the least productive session in years. Twenty-nine bills passed the Legislature this year, one of the lowest totals ever, according to figures from the Legislative Affairs Agency. The lowest number of bills in a 121-day session was in 2017, when the Legislature passed 26 bills into law, according to LAA. With four special sessions that year the number rose to 32. In 2018, the Legislature passed more than 100 bills.

Juneau’s Sen. Jesse Kiehl said he and his colleagues spent most of the past few months working out a budget in response to Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s proposed budget that made huge slashes to state services. As a result, not much else got passed.

“We were dealing with some monsters, some real giants this year,” Kiehl said in an interview Friday. “A budget that keeps Alaska working, that doesn’t crash the economy the way that the governor’s first proposal would have, is really crucial. The decisions aren’t final, but we’re in a better place, a passable place, and that’s a real accomplishment this year.”

Read more: https://www.juneauempire.com/news/what-the-legislature-left-on-the-table-ferries-addiction-treatment-new-revenue/

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