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Conference Committee Recommends Re-Authorizing ARDORs

HB71 report re-ups AK economic development orgs thru 2016, next stop floors

Thursday, February 20, 2014, Juneau, Alaska – Alaska Regional Development Organizations, or ARDORs, got new life today, after the House-Senate Conference Committee on House Bill 71 agreed to re-authorize the program through July 1, 2016.

The committee, which met following disagreement between House and Senate versions of the bill, sponsored by Rep. Shelley Hughes, R-Palmer, agreed to strip language inserted earlier by the Senate relating to weathervane scallops. The new committee substitute will re-enact the vessel-based limited entry fisheries system for Bering Sea hair crab through December 30, 2018.

“I am happy to see that both bodies worked together to resolve differences to allow the ARDORs to continue their important economic development work across Alaska,” Hughes said. “Economic development is pivotal to job growth and healthy communities. Our ARDORs are the local connection to businesses to foster economic success.”

Hughes’ original bill only extended ARDORs with new accountability requirements, but the Senate added sections on hair crab and scallops. The new report includes transition language allowing the previous ARDOR program to continue until new regulations are adopted.

ARDORs were created in 1988, based on the premise that the best strategy is a locally-driven initiative where local leaders understand regional conditions, challenges and opportunities and engage in partnerships and projects to support regional economic development.

“We talk about our economy and the three-legged school of oil revenues, federal, and all the others. Well, right now that stool is wobbly, and ARDORs offer a way to help solidify that base,” Hughes said. “ARDORs promote economic diversity and I’m hopeful the new standards will help prove that out.”

The full House and full Senate now needs to act to accept the conference committee substitute to HB 71 before it can be sent to the governor for signature.

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