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Alaska Chamber - Capitol Notes, Feb. 24 - March 3, 2012

In this issue:


  • Take Action This Week!
    • Senate Takes Public Testimony on Oil Tax Reform
    • Playing Politics with Alaska’s Resources
    • Litigation Reform Relating to Alaska’s Resources
  • Legislative Committee Schedule

 

Take Action This Week!

Public Testimony on Oil Tax Reform
            The top legislative priority for the Alaska Chamber during the 2012 session is meaningful oil tax reform.  Meaningful oil tax reform means making Alaska competitive among North American peers and globally.  Currently, HB 110, the Governor’s oil tax reform bill passed last year by the House, is the only oil tax reform bill which we know will increase investment in production activities.  Meaningful oil tax reform means meeting or beating the $5 billion of new investment committed by industry should HB 110 become law.
           
            After several weeks of invited only testimony related to oil tax reform, the Senate Resources Committee plans to begin discussing amendments to SB 192, their “oil tax reform” bill today.  A new version of the bill (a committee substitute) is anticipated by early next week.  On Wednesday, February 29, public testimony will be taken.  This is significant, because this represents the first time the Senate has allowed public testimony on the issue of oil tax reform in the 13 months since this legislature convened in January 2011.  MARK YOUR CALENDAR NOW and PLAN TO TESTIFY in favor of Alaska's economic future.


Playing Politics With Alaska’s Resources
            SB 152, “Legislative Approval for Bristol Bay Sulfide Mine”, would insert political decision making into established regulatory structures.  SB 152, sponsored by Senator Hollis French, essentially usurps the permitting authority of state agencies.  SB 152 would restrict mining throughout the Bristol Bay region regardless of land status. 
           
            SB 152 is scheduled for its first hearing in the Senate Community and Regional Affairs Committee on Tuesday, February 28, at 3:30pm.  SB 152 is poor public policy and would establish a dangerous precedent for all future resource development activities in Alaska.  It would allow the legislature to bypass the State’s existing permitting process at any time. 
       
            Alaska’s existing permitting regulatory structure is rigorous, science based, transparent and predictable.  Leaving land management and resource development to the subjectivity of a particular legislature will negatively affect Alaska’s business climate by taking away the predictability of the process.  If there is a problem with Alaska’s existing permitting structure, let’s fix it rather than subjecting Alaska’s economic future to the subjectivity of a particular legislature.


Litigation Reform Relating to Resource Development in Alaska
            One of the Alaska Chamber’s top priorities for 2012 is litigation reform as it pertains to natural resource projects.  HB 168, “Injunction Security:  Industrial Operation” has a hearing in the Senate Labor & Commerce Committee, Wednesday, March 1 at 1:30pm. 
 
            There is little to nothing discouraging opponents of natural resource projects to file lawsuits and appeals against projects.  Even with modifications to Alaska's "loser pays" rules for attorneys' fees, opponents of natural resource development projects continue to file lawsuits against projects.  The discovery phase in litigation can cost the State and project proponents hundreds of thousands of dollars in attorneys' fees and the uncertainty of litigation alone can effectively stop progress on projects.
 
            Under existing State law, judges have not required opponents of natural resource projects to post bonds to adequately cover the economic harm to the project proponent and working Alaskans.  Meaningful changes to Alaska’s statutes, like HB 168, which require project opponents to pose some form of real financial security to cover the real financial harm caused by those seeking to enjoin permits and projects is important to improving Alaska’s business climate and Alaska’s economic future.
 

Committee Schedule

The following list of committee meetings addresses issues and bills important to Alaska Chamber members for the upcoming week.

For a complete list of bills visit the BASIS web site.  Most of these meetings are teleconferenced.  The legislature also started to stream all committee meetings in the capitol.  You can check it out at http://alaskalegislature.tv/ . 
 


If you would like to testify, it is best if you go through your local LIO office.  If you are unable to go through your local LIO office, you must call the Chair of the Committee in which the bill is being heard for "authorization" and get off-net call in number.


Friday, February 24, 2012

Senate Resources – 1:00pm
SB 192Oil and Gas Production Tax Rates
Access to Information, Fiscal Note Analysis & Discussion of Committee Questions
Department of Revenue, Commissioner Bryan Butcher, Invited Testimony Only
 

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Senate Resources – 1:00pm
SB 192Oil and Gas Production Tax Rates
 

Monday, February 27, 2012

House Resources – 1:00pm
HB 9In-State Gasline Development Corp
HB 276Oil/Gas Production Tax Credit: Nenana Basin
HB 289Natural Gas Storage Tax Credit/Regulation
 
Senate Resources – 3:30pm
SB 192Oil and Gas Production Tax Rates
Department of Revenue – Invited Testimony Only
 

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Senate Labor & Commerce – 1:30pm
HB 168  Injunction Security – Industrial Operations
SB 116Workers’ Compensation:  Collective Bargaining/Mediation
SB 174Oil & Gas Industry Job Notifications
 
Senate Community & Regional Affairs – 3:30pm
SB 152  Legislative Approval of Bristol Bay Sulfide Mine
 
Senate Resources – 3:30pm
SB 192Oil and Gas Production Tax Rates
Independents & Small Producers – Invited Testimony Only
 
Senate Resources – 6:00pm – 8:00pm
SB 192  Oil and Gas Production Tax Rates
Independents & Small Producers – Invited Testimony Only
 

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

House Resources – 1:00pm
 

HB 328 Oil & Gas Corporate Taxes
 
House Finance – 1:30pm
HB 252  Income Tax Exemption
 
Senate Resources – 3:30 – 5:00pm
SB 192Oil and Gas Production Tax Rates
Public Testimony
 
Senate Resources – 6:00pm – 8:00pm
SB 192Oil and Gas Production Tax Rates
Public Testimony

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Alaska Business Roundtable, 12:00pm, Hangar Ballroom
Guest Speaker:  Speaker of the House Mike Chenault
The Alaska Business Roundtable is a weekly luncheon sponsored by the Juneau Chamber of Commerce and the Alaska Chamber throughout legislative session.  
 
Lunch & Learn, House Resources – 12:00pm
“One Person’s Holiday is Another Person’s Work”
Presentation by Gideon Garcia, Director of Tour Administration for HAP Alaska/Yukon
 
Senate Labor & Commerce – 1:30pm
SB 116  Workers' Comp.: Collective Bargaining/Mediation
HB 168  Injunction Security: Industrial Operation
 
Senate Resources – 3:30pm – Teleconference
SB 192 Oil and Gas Production Tax Rates
Presentation by Major North Slope Producers
 

Friday, March 2, 2012

House Finance – 1:30pm
HJR 4 Constitutional Amendment Transportation Fund
 
Senate Resources – 3:30pm
SB 192 Oil and Gas Production Tax Rates
Invited Testimony Only
 

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Senate Resources – 1:00pm
SB 192 Oil and Gas Production Tax Rates
Invited Testimony Only
_____________________________________________
Capitol Notes highlights opportunities for Alaska Chamber members to make the “voice of Alaska business” heard during the Alaska Legislative Session on priorities and issues important to Alaska Chamber members.
 
Review Alaska Chamber 2012 Priorities here and all Positions here. To see a list of legislation the Alaska Chamber currently supports or opposes, click here
 
Please note that this list can change weekly as legislation changes as it moves through the legislative process.  For information about the Alaska Chamber’s legislative advocacy program, please call us at 907-278-2722.

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