Alaska State Legislature
News from the Senate and House Majorities

Wendy Lindskoog, (907) 269-0257
Jerry Ritter, (907) 269-0167
State Capitol
Juneau, AK 99801
web site:
http://www.akrepublicans.org
Actuality line: 1-800-478-6540

Guide to Organization of the Legislature

For Immediate Release: November 20, 1998 Contact: Jerry Ritter at (907) 269-0167 or Wendy Lindskoog at (907) 269-0257.

The first session of the 21st Alaska Legislature will convene on January 19, 1999. We have had numerous inquiries from both press and public wanting to know the mechanics of how a Legislature is organized, how presiding officers are chosen, how committees are organized and their members appointed, and how business is conducted. This guide will, hopefully, answer most of the basic questions and we urge you to keep it handy. If you have further, or more in-depth questions, please don't hesitate to contact the Majority Press Office. In addition, you may obtain a copy of the Uniform Rules of the Alaska Legislature, from which this guide was largely prepared, either from your local Legislative Information Office or on-line at the Majority Home Page at

http://www.akrepublicans.org

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ORGANIZATION OF FIRST SESSION

When the first regular session of the 21st Alaska Legislature convenes January 19th, 1999, the lieutenant governor will call the House of Representatives and the Senate to order separately and call the roll of members whose election has been certified. The lieutenant governor will then administer the oath of office to all members.

When the house*, by a simple majority vote (50-percent-plus-one) of its full membership, selects a temporary presiding officer, the temporary presiding officer assumes the chair and the lieutenant governor withdraws. The temporary presiding officer then calls for nominations for a permanent presiding officer (Speaker of the House of Representatives or Senate President) and the nominee receiving a majority vote of the full membership of that house becomes the permanent presiding officer for the two-year duration of the legislature. If a permanent presiding officer is not elected by the seventh legislative day, on the eighth legislative day the temporary presiding officer shall call for nominations for a permanent presiding officer from the floor. A roll call vote shall be taken on the persons nominated. Election of a permanent presiding officer requires a majority vote of the full membership of the house.

The presiding officer shall announce, not later than the day following election, the appointment of a Committee on Committees, chaired by the presiding officer. The committee is responsible for nominating the members of the standing committees and the member who is to chair each standing committee. The membership of each committee shall be an uneven number. On each standing committee the Minority is entitled to the number of seats that is proportional to the number of Minority members in the total house membership or to one seat, whichever is greater. In calculating the number of seats to which the Minority is entitled, fractional numbers that represent the Minority proportional entitlement to a seat shall be ignored. (In other words, if there are 25 Majority members and 15 Minority members in the House, a 9-member committee would consist of 6 Majority members and 3 Minority members.) The report of the Committee on Committees is subject to approval by a majority vote of the full membership of the house. "Minority" means a group of members who have organized and elected a Minority Leader and who constitute at least 25 percent of the total house membership; this rule may be changed to a lower number.

* Note: The term "House," with the "H" capitalized, refers to the House of Representatives. The term "house" (all lower case) is used to denote either body as one of two bodies of the Legislature.


DAILY ORDER OF BUSINESS

  1. Roll call
  2. Invocation or meditation
  3. Pledge of Allegiance
  4. Certification of correctness of the journal of the previous day
  5. Introduction of guests
  6. Messages from the governor
  7. Messages from the other house
  8. Communications
  9. Reports of standing committees
  10. Reports of special committees
  11. Introduction of resolutions
  12. Introduction, first reading and reference of bills
  13. Consideration of daily calendar
  1. Second reading of bills of house
  2. Second reading of bills of other house
  3. Third reading of bills of house
  4. Third reading of bills of other house
  5. All other matters up for final action in the house
  1. Unfinished business
  2. Announcement of committee meetings
  3. Special orders (not set for a particular hour)
  4. Adjournment.

STANDING COMMITTEES

Each house has the following standing committees with the jurisdiction indicated:

Finance - All appropriation, revenue, capital improvement, and bonding measures, the executive budget, and the programs and activities of the Department of Revenue.

Health, Education and Social Services (HESS) - The programs and activities of the Department of Health and Social Services, the Department of Education, and the University of Alaska.

Judiciary - The programs and activities of the Alaska Court System and the Department of Law, and the legal and substantive review of bills referred to it for that purpose.

Labor and Commerce - The programs and activities of the Department of Labor relating to labor-management relations, industrial safety, unemployment compensation, and workers' compensation and the programs and activities of the Department of Commerce and Economic Development.

Community and Regional Affairs - The programs and activities of the Department of Community and Regional Affairs and other matters relating to political subdivisions.

Resources - The programs and activities of the Departments of Fish and Game, Natural Resources, and Environmental Conservation.

Rules - Interpretation of the Uniform Rules, calendar, the internal administration of the house and matters pertaining to the management of the legislature as a whole.

State Affairs - Programs and activities of the Office of the Governor and the Departments of Administration, Military Affairs and Public Safety, and programs and activities of the Department of Transportation and Public Facilities relating to public facilities.

Transportation - Programs and activities of the Department of Transportation and Public Facilities relating to transportation and other legislative matters relating to transportation.

(The committee chairs are authorized to form such subcommittees as they determine to be necessary.)


SPECIAL COMMITTEES

A special committee is a committee of one house. A special committee may be established only by the adoption of a simple resolution. The presiding officer of each house appoints the members of a special committee and designates a member to chair the special committee unless otherwise ordered by the house.


HOUSE SPECIAL COMMITTEES

Fisheries

Oil and Gas

International Trade and Tourism

World Trade & State/Federal Relations

Military and Veterans Affairs

Economic Development

Telecommunications

Webmaster Note: the 22nd legislature removed:

  1. International Trade and Tourism
  2. World Trade & State/Federal Relations
  3. Economic Development
  4. Telecommunications

And added:

  1. Economic Development, Trade, and Tourism
  2. Education
  3. Ethics
  4. Regulation Review
  5. Legislative Council
  6. Legislative Budget & Audit

SENATE SPECIAL COMMITTEES

Currently there are no Senate Special Committees.


JOINT COMMITTEES

A joint committee is a committee of both houses. A joint committee may be established only by the adoption of a concurrent resolution. The presiding officer of each house appoints one-half of the members of a joint committee. The persons who co-chair a joint committee shall be chosen in the manner provided by the presiding officers.

Administrative Regulation Review Ethics

Electric Utility Restructuring Legislative Budget and Audit

Legislative Council


PREFILING OF BILLS

Bills or proposals for bills may be prefiled with the executive director of the Legislative Affairs Agency at any time before January 1. All requests are confidential and are limited to bills and to those joint resolutions proposing amendments to the state or federal constitutions. A member may request no more than 10 bills for prefiling. Prefiled bills are read and referred to committee in advance of other bills.


VETOED BILLS

When the governor vetoes a bill or reduces an item in an appropriation bill, that bill is returned with a statement of objections to the house of origin. The other house is promptly requested to meet in joint session to reconsider passage of the vetoed bill or item. Vetoed bills which would raise revenue and appropriation bills or items become law upon reconsideration by the affirmative vote of three-fourths of the full membership of the legislature sitting in joint session as one body. Other vetoed bills become law upon reconsideration by the affirmative vote of two-thirds of the full membership of the legislature sitting in joint session as one body. Bills vetoed after adjournment of any regular session are returned with a statement of the governor's objections to the Legislative Affairs Agency and may be reconsidered by the full membership of the legislature sitting as one body not later than the fifth day after the next regular session or any intervening special session that convenes during that legislature.


CONFIRMATION OF APPOINTMENTS

Appointments by the governor are subject to confirmation by a majority vote of the full membership of the legislature in joint session.