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Speaker Chenault to Introduce AGDC Board Member Bill

Speaker respects intent of SB124 sponsor, will still push for fix to law

April 03, 2014, Juneau, Alaska – Alaska Speaker of the House Mike Chenault announced tonight that he will ask the House Rules Committee to introduce a bill amending the Alaska Gasline Development Corporation statute to allow out-of-state appointees to the Board of Directors.

Speaker Chenault, R-Nikiski, made the decision prior to Thursday’s Rules hearing on his proposed amendment to Senate Bill 124. A statement from the Speaker follows.

“I thought I had SB 124 sponsor’s support to make this fix; I was mistaken despite the fact he didn’t object to my amending his bill. There is not, and has never been, any intent to place the domestic violence council at risk. I know my caucus, the House, the Senate, would never jeopardize such an important entity in our state. Ever.

“Now that it is clear that the bill sponsor doesn’t support the amendment I proposed, I will not force the issue. Only with his agreement could this mechanism have worked without threatening the domestic violence council.

“I want a discussion of the amendment, and we’ve had that now in the Rules Committee. However, I have withdrawn my amendment after discussion. I am going to request a bill sponsored by House Rules by request that amends AGDC’s statute in order to allow for out-of-state board appointments, and I hope to have this bill through the process before confirmations this session.

“Mr. Rabinow, of Texas, is on the list of appointments we’re to take up. I want us to be able to vote on confirmation on the merits of Mr. Rabinow, and that means his appointment has to be allowable by statute. If people vote for him, ok. If people vote against him, ok. But let’s have the vote. And regardless of Mr. Rabinow’s nomination, AGDC’s statute should be amended to fix a technical oversight and reflect the intent of the Legislature. That desire – which was clear in testimony last year – is that the governor has the ultimate discretion in appointing the most qualified people to lead AGDC in carrying out its mission to develop projects that get gas to Alaskans.

“AGDC’s board includes 2 commissioners. The governor appoints 5 public members. By statute, the governor is encouraged to appoint people who bring specific qualifications – expertise in pipeline construction, large project management, and so on.

“By statute, AGDC’s mission requires the board and the corporation to act in Alaskans’ best interests.

And the board is all-Alaskan, except for one appointee. Bear in mind that no matter how hard the board works to develop a project with Alaskans’ interests in mind, if the board lacks the global expertise to bring a project to fruition, they risk failing Alaskans.

“Alaskans lose if a project is not developed well, constructed on time and on budget, and under terms with the major oil and gas producers that serve Alaskans well. Who better to understand the way the majors operate, and then to use that knowledge for the benefit of Alaskans, than a candidate with Mr. Rabinow’s resume?

“HB 4 was complex legislation; 59 pages long. As is often the case in this process, we don’t always get it all right the first time around. HB 4 specifically laid out a structure for AGDC as a corporation, defining what the Legislature wanted as far as board appointments, items generally addressed in 39.05, existing statute related to public officers and employees.

“Alaska Statute 39.05.100 requires board appointees to be Alaskans, unless otherwise provided. HB 4 laid out board requirements, without specifically stating whether members had to be Alaskans or not; legal guidance at the time, plus testimony, was that the HB 4 language allowed out-of-state and Alaskans to serve. What we neglected to do – and this was an oversight – is to specifically exempt AGDC from 39.05.100, after we put into AGDC’s statutes what we intended.”

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