Alaska State Capitol, Rm 427
Juneau, AK 99801
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Senator Cathy Giessel
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In this issue:
-Senate Resources Committee
-Legislation in Action
-My Bill Hearings
-Town Hall Meetings
-Senate State Affairs
-100 Year old Legislature
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March 4, 2013
Greetings Neighbors and Friends,
February 27 marked the halfway point and as of today the legislature has 41 days left in the 90-day first session of the 28th legislature. The Senate passed several pieces of legislation on the floor, all of which were “YES” votes for me.
SB 37 Extend Suicide Prevention Council
SB 12 Public Procurement
HB 67 Vietnam Veterans Day
SJR 3 Endorsing ANWR Leasing
I was also pleased that my bill, SB 7 Corporate Income Tax, passed the Senate this past week. The bill picked up several cosponsors: Senators Egan, Wielechowski, French, Dyson, McGuire, Bishop, Fairclough, Meyer, Micciche, Dunleavy, and Kelly. An amendment was offered by Sen. Wielechowski to change the 1% tax applied to the lowest tax bracket to 0%. I endorsed this idea offered by my colleague from the other side of the aisle. This bill will help Alaska’s businesses keep more of their earnings so they can grow their businesses, hire more employees and build Alaska’s economy. The bill has been endorsed by Chambers of Commerce from all over the state, small businesses and one of the native corporations. SB 7 now heads to the House for further consideration.
Anchorage Chamber of Commerce: Robert Heinrich, Anne Reed,
Andrew MacLeod, Sen. Giessel, Chris Clifford
Liquid Natural Gas Export License Announcement
Today, ConocoPhillips announced that they would not be applying for an extension of the Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) export license for the Nikiski LNG plant. The current export license expires on March 31.
In the future, ConocoPhillips will consider reactivating the export license but only if local gas needs are met, leaving sufficient gas for export. Right now, that sufficient gas for export is not available. The LNG export plant is currently operational and will be held in “cold mode” which will allow a faster return to service should the availability of sufficient volumes of gas make that option viable.
The export license for the Nikiski LNG plant has been active for 42 years. It was the first, and only, LNG export plant operating in the U.S. Alaska’s export of natural gas was under contract with Japan, and the contract was faithfully met, without fail, for those 42 years.
It is a sad day to see the Nikiski plant cease exporting. It is imperative that Alaska be not only competitive in the oil and gas development world but attractive as well. I am thankful for Hilcorp, Apache, Cook Inlet Energy and others who are working hard in Cook Inlet to develop our resources…for our citizens, businesses and the world.
Senate Resources Committee
SB 21 Oil and Gas Production Tax is the most important bill before the Legislature this session. I support the Governor’s four principles for our oil and gas tax structure: Fair to Alaskans, Encourage New Production (not just drain our treasury from generous credits for projects that never produce oil), Simple so it restores Balance, and Durable for the long-term. (Alaska has changed tax law 3 times in last 7 years.) The Senate Resources has introduced some changes to the Governor’s bill (SB 21) that we believe will meet the 4 principles even better. Changes are:
All credits or tax exclusions would be redeemable ONLY after oil is produced.
- Creates flat 62-65% (average) total government tax take
- Creates a non-political competitiveness review board to continue watching the world oil and gas scene
- Alaska Manufacturing Credit for oil/gas goods made in Alaska by companies paying Alaska Corporate Income Tax
- Continues the Gross Revenue Exclusion for new oil, and expands it to include new oil from new areas in legacy fields
Alaska’s Clear & Equitable Share (ACES) today is costing the State of Alaska billions in excessively generous tax credits which are not linked to oil production – the credits are earned simply by spending.
2010: State of Alaska paid $250 million in credits to companies that paid no oil production taxes; $412 million in credits to companies with production taxes. Total $662 million in credits.
2011: State paid $450 million in credits to companies that paid no oil production taxes; $386 million in credits to companies with production taxes. Total $836 million in credits.
2012: State paid $353 million in credits to companies that paid no oil production taxes; $384 million in credits to companies with production tax bill. Total $737 million in credits.
In just the last 3 years, ACES gave away $2.235 billion in Tax Credits. But oil in the Pipeline continues to decline! Talk about an ACES Give-Away!!!
2013, 2014 Forecasts for ACES oil tax credits…$850 million and $1.15 billion respectively. Another ACES $2 Billion Give-Away in 2013-14, if we don’t get it changed.
ACES is a tax credit Give-Away. ACES credits are too generous and give away money without any oil production!
Senate Bill 21 changes that by requiring oil production before credits can be deducted.
The Senate Resources Committee passed Committee Substitute for SB 21 on Wednesday, February 27. Thursday, February 28, the Senate Finance Committee began hearings on the bill. I plan to attend all Senate Finance Committee meetings on CSSB 21. You can follow along at http://akl.tv.
Find the press release at
OTHER BILLS IN SENATE RESOURCES
Senate Resources Committee considered SJR 3 Endorsing ANWR Leasing and moved it from committee. The full Senate heard and passed the Resolution unanimously.
On Monday, March 4, we will hear SJR 10 Arctic Council; SB 54 Extend Hair Crab & Scallop Fishery; HB 36 Exempt Discharges from Munitions.
Senate Resources Committee meets on Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 3:30 P.M. You can watch on your computer at http://akl.tv.
To watch meetings from last week follow the link at:
2/25/13 meeting, 2/27/13 joint meeting, 2/27/13 meeting
Legislation in Action
Last year I sponsored legislation to establish a snow classic as an authorized form of charitable gaming for the Four Valleys Community Schools, SB 146. This year will be the first opportunity to participate in the Alyeska Snow Classic. Ticket sales begin Feb. 15th and will continue until March 31st. The challenge is to guess how much snow will have accumulated on the Alyeska Snow Classic Stick at elevation 1096 on Mt. Alyeska. The stick will be read on April 28th. For more information contact Lynné Doran at (907) 783-0771 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
SJR 1 Constitutional Amendment: Education Funding
I have received numerous emails and phone calls concerning SJR 1. If this resolution passes the Legislature, registered voters will have the opportunity to vote on any constitutional changes, just as the State Constitution prescribes.
SJR 9 would put the question on the ballot, for a vote by the registered voters of Alaska.
Below is a link to a great information document that can be found on the State Legislature website. Near the end of the document, you can read the portion of the Alaska Constitution that speaks to amending it. There is a summary chart of the number of times the Constitution has been amended, topics, and votes. Follow the link to Alaska’s Constitution: A Citizen’s Guide at http://w3.legis.state.ak.us/docs/pdf/citizens_guide.pdf
My Sponsored Bills Hearing Dates
SB 2 Interstate Mining Compact & Commission will likely reach the Senate floor for a vote in the coming weeks. This bill authorizes the state to join and participate in the Interstate Mining Compact. The Interstate Mining Compact Commission is a multi-state governmental agency/organization that represents the natural resource and related environmental protection interests of its member states. By uniting with 19 other member states, Alaska will have a greater role in implementing effective regulatory programs that will promote best practices and secure a vibrant state mineral economy. Five other Western states are following Alaska’s lead to join the Commission.
Sen. Giessel introducing staffer Heather Fison on the Senate Floor
I have rescheduled the town hall meetings on March 23rd. Instead, I will be holding meetings in the district on Saturday March 16th.
Saturday March 16th
Seward Community Library & Museum 10:30am-11:30am
Cooper Landing 2:00pm-3:00pm
Sterling Senior Center 4:30pm-5:30pm
Saturday March 23rd CANCELLED
CANCELLED Seward Community Library & Museum 10:30am-11:30am
CANCELLED Cooper Landing Community Hall 2:00pm-3:00pm
Peninsula Teleconferenced Town Hall Meeting: Thursday, March 14 6:00 P.M.
Join Legislators from your area for a town hall meeting via teleconference. The Legislative Information Offices in Kenai, Homer and Seward will be open to individuals interested in connecting with legislators representing the Kenai Peninsula. This is a great time to voice your concerns, questions, and comments to your local representatives. For more information contact my office at 1-800-892-4843.
Sen. Giessel introducing staffer Heather Fison on the Senate Floor
Constituent Meetings last week
I met with Aurora Graves and Doreen Schenkenberger who are with the Alaska Addiction Professionals Assn. They live in our district and we talked about strategies for treating addiction. They have compelling stories about Anchorage Therapeutic Court and other treatment options. Aurora and Dorine talked about their commitment to help Alaskans climb out of addition. Alaska Addiction Professionals Association can be contacted at (907) 242-6638, in the Anchorage office.
Doreen Schenkenberger, Sen. Giessel, and Aurora Graves
Seward Highway Improvements Announcement
Last week, Governor Parnell announced that Alaska will spend $165 million in federal money to improve safety along the Seward Highway. In 2013, $16 million will be used to add 5 slow-vehicle turnout lanes between Potter Marsh and Turnagain Pass, install “rumble strips,” and realign the highway near Mile 88, just south of Girdwood. I am pleased to see that the Governor and new Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities Commissioner, Pat Kemp, are addressing the safety concerns along this highway.
Seward Highway Open House Public Meeting: Windy Corner
When: Today, March 4, 2013 at 6:30 P.M.
Where: 250 Egloff Drive, Girdwood, Alaska
The Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities is hosting an Open House Public Scoping Meeting to present information on the proposed safety improvements for the Seward Highway between Rainbow and Indian. The focus will be on realigning and dividing the highway to improve safety in the corridor. For more information contact: 866-535-1877 or email@example.com
Happy 100 Year-Old Birthday to the Alaska Legislature!
The first Alaska Territorial Legislature convened in Juneau on March 3, 1913. There are many events here in Juneau, remembering and celebrating the last 100 years.
OF NOTE…The first Senate President was Senator L.V. Ray from Seward!
Senate District N is composed of many diverse communities spread across a vast area in South Central Alaska—Anchorage Hillside, Indian, Bird, Girdwood, Hope, Cooper Landing, Moose Pass, Bear Creek, and Seward—with a population of 35,959. Each community has a unique story, but all embrace the common spirit of Alaskan adventure and ingenuity.
I have the BEST district in the State and want to highlight our communities in each newsletter. Today I highlight Girdwood and Moose Pass…
- Population - 2,570, part of the Municipality of Anchorage
- Major landmarks or attractions - Girdwood is home to the largest ski resort in Alaska - Alyeska Resort. Alyeska Resort has 1,500 skiable acres and a 3,200 vertical rise. Girdwood also has many Nordic ski trails and hiking trails throughout the valley.
- General geography - Girdwood is nestled in the Chugach National Forest with Turnagain Arm at the entrance to the community. Mt. Alyeska ski area has an elevation of 3,939.
- An interesting historical event that took place 100 years ago - Girdwood, originally named Glacier City, was founded as a gold mining town at the turn of the century. The town was named after Col. James Girdwood, who established a mining operation in 1901. Construction of the Alaska Railroad in 1915 further fueled the town’s growth.
It’s a pleasure to serve and represent District N – the BEST district in the State!
- Population - 231, an unincorporated community on the Kenai Peninsula
- Major landmarks or attractions - There are dozens of scenic hiking trails scattered through the Chugach National Forest, which surrounds Moose Pass. Trail Lakes Salmon Fish Hatchery, operated by the Cook Inlet Aquaculture Association, provides salmon smolt for many streams and rivers in the Cook Inlet watershed.
- General geography - It is surrounded by the Chugach National Forest, on the shores of the Upper and Lower Trail Lakes; 100 miles south of Anchorage, 30 miles north of Seward
- An interesting historical event that took place 100 years ago-
Oscar Christensen and his partner Mickey Natt arrived by dog sled and horse in 1909. They build a log cabin and roadhouse that served as an inn for miners. The town was known for mining, logging and a transfer point for those headed north with supplies or south with gold. The original Iditarod Trail, used to transport supplies and gold, was blazed through the area in 1910 and 1911.