Alaska Legislature Only Partially Organized
Posted & Edited By MARY KAUFFMAN
February 05, 2021
Thursday, on a unanimous 39-0 vote, Rep. Josiah Patkotak (I-Utqiagvik) was appointed speaker pro tempore of the Alaska House of Representatives. Patkotak, a freshman lawmaker who represents House District 40, will oversee the nomination and voting process to select a permanent house speaker.
“I am humbled and honored to serve in this capacity during my first year in office, and I remain committed to the Bush Caucus as we work to achieve a permanent organization in the House. I thank God for this opportunity,” Representative Patkotak said.
Rep. Bryce Edgmon (I-Dillingham), who served as speaker for the past four years, added, “As the first Alaska Native speaker in our state’s history, I am encouraged to see a young leader with the skills, temperament, and commitment to rural Alaska playing a leadership role as we continue to work toward a permanent organization in the House.”
In 2019, Rep. Neal Foster (D-Nome) served as speaker pro tempore for 29 days while the House worked to achieve a bipartisan majority organization. “I am proud to see a fellow rural legislator stepping up to help move Alaska forward,” Representative Foster said.
According to Sen. Tom Begich (D-Anchorage), the Alaska Senate also had difficulty organizing and did not reach finality until just before the Legislature convened on the 19th of January. Even though the House has not organized, the Senate has begun to work - holding hearings on bills, addressing the revenue shortfall and pandemic through the committee process, and conducting business on the Floor.
The base salary for an Alaska legislator is $50,400 plus per diem. Unlike other state legislatures with longer sessions, the Alaska Legislature has a comparatively short session. In the 2006 elections, a voter initiative was passed that reduced the statutory length of the session from 121 days to 90 days
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