Bills moving quickly as session nears close

The Senate Finance Committee ticked off a list of bills in rapid succession Friday morning.

Included was House Bill 258, setting up procedures for contractors to use gravel containing naturally-occurring asbestos, which is now prohibited; HB 62, a bill that would facilitate the aquatic farming of geoduck clams near Gulf of Alaska communities, an activity now limited to Southeast Alaska; and HB 360, establishing an Interstate Mining Company so Alaska can work jointly with 34 other states on mining issues.

By late morning the committee was working on SB 217, a bill establishing procedures for the auditing of pharmacy records. Audits of pharmacies are done now in a way that penalizes pharmacies in Alaska, the bill sponsor, Sen. Dennis Egan, D-Juneau, told the Senate Finance Committee.

A bill important to the construction industry, HB 298, exempting sand and gravel mining from the state mining license tax, was also approved by the committee Friday morning.

Several other bills are scheduled for action by the committee Friday.

They include HB 252, a bill granting tax exemptions to small business startups with an emphasis on high-tech; House Bill 276, establishing new incentives for exploration drilling for oil and gas in the Nenana Basin near Fairbanks, Selawik Basin near Kotzebue, the Copper River Basin near Glennallen, and other unexplored regions of the state. 

House Bill 286, authorizing $453.4 million in state general obligation bonds for ports and other transportation projects to appear on the November general election ballot, is also before the Senate Finance Committee for action Friday.

04/20/2012 - 6:16am