State Legislative Session Convenes, House Still Without Organized Majority

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FAIRBANKS, Alaska - The State Legislative Session convened today in Juneau. Senators Scott Kawasaki and Click Bishop were sworn in to represent the Interior in the Alaska State Senate. The Republican Senate Majority spoke to the press about their priorities for the upcoming session, including public safety, the budget, and protecting the permanent fund dividend for future generations. Co-Chair of the Finance Committee, Senator Bart Stedman of Sitka, stated "I think when we put some transparency on the numerics, and we hold a firm line to protect the permanent fund for future generations, we'll be making some pretty tough decisions coming up this winter, which have to be made, and frankly, the sooner we make them, the easier they're gonna be."

The House reconvened as well, with one big question still up in the air, who the House Leadership will be?
But the first order of business was to swear in each representative. Newly elected Bart LeBon and Grier Hopkins were sworn in, as well as returning Representatives Steve Thompson, Tammie Wilson, Adam Wool, and Dave Talerico.

In just the first day of the legislative session, there was already contention in the house chambers. Lieutenant Governor Kevin Meyer wanted Representative Dave Talerico to read a message from the Governor to the House Republicans, but Representative Chris Tuck of Anchorage, said that it was out of order and not within the Lieutenant Governor's duties. "The only authority that we give the Lieutenant Governor is to do a roll-call vote for the speaker pro tempore so that we can remove the executive branch from the legislative branch, and we can therefore take our own house in order and elect our own speaker. So to do any business other than that, is out of order, Mr. Lieutenant Governor," said Tuck.

The House still does not have an organized majority, so it is likely they will be appointing a temporary speaker.