Legislative special session begins

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JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) - As its 121 day constitutional mandate to end business arrived, the Alaska legislature adjourned its session. But Governor Walker called them back to a special session effective today.

When lawmakers adjourned, most knew it would not be for long. Governor Walker made the recess very short, calling them back to work today.
He said lawmakers have to finish their work, the main job being the budget and dealing with a nearly $3 billion deficit.

"I'm hopeful in these thirty days the discussions that have begun already and are in conference," said Walker. "Some of the legislation is in conference, some is not. I think it's going to be a productive thirty, I really do. There's an acknowledgement of not working together; I think we're going to get there."

Republican representative Paul Seaton of Homer said there are a number of pieces yet to be added to the puzzle to make it work.

"We have to get to new revenues and oil and gas tax credits, those pieces, and then SB 26 if you can figure out where those are, and then the budget is actually based on what kind of fiscal plan you have and what kind of revenue," said Seaton.

Democrat representative Bryce Edgmon of Dillingham said the work has to get done.

"With the proclamation issued and narrowing of the scope of business of the legislature, we'll be focusing on the items the governor's put before us," said Edgmon.

Alaska U. S. Senator Lisa Murkowski has been following the actions of the state legislature and said the state lawmakers have their work cut out for them.

"When you have a state in a recession, with the second highest unemployment in the nation, when your production is impacted by low prices and a pipeline that's half full and a deficit a little less than $3 billion, it requires action," said Murkowski.