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Governor Expands Special Session Call
Material Witness Bill, Gas Spurline to Southcentral Added


July 26, 2006
Wednesday AM

Alaska Governor Frank H. Murkowski on Tuesday expanded the call of the legislative special session underway, adding a bill relating to law enforcement investigations and making an appropriation to study the feasability of a natural gas spur line to Southcentral should lawmakers move forward on the proposed Stranded Gas Act contract.




Back up for consideration is Anchorage Senator Con Bunde's Material Witness bill, which passed both the House and Senate during the regular session, but failed to pass a conference committee substitute before the end of the regular session.

"Concerns over community violence are growing and can not be ignored," Murkowski said. "This bill gained bi-partisan support from lawmakers. Not only that, though. It also carried significant momentum from law enforcement officials around the state. Including the areas of greatest need: Anchorage and the Interior."

What was SB 206 during the regular session now is HB 3007 for the special session. It would allow officers to temporarily detain material witnesses to get identification if the officer has reason to believe the person witnessed the commission of a crime, or was at the scene or in the vicinity, during the commission of a crime.

"After the latest violence and after I announced that the state would look for ways to assist the Municipality of Anchorage, Senator Bunde pointed out that one such tool was Senate Bill 206 from last session," Murkowski said. "Both houses of the Legislature overwhelmingly recognized the need for this and passed the bill initially. Let's hope they continue on this track."

The bill also raises fines and punishments for contempt of court charges. The Senate is expected to read their companion version across tomorrow, July 26.

In addition to the material witness legislation, the governor added a $4-million appropriation bill for the Department of Natural Resources to study the feasability of developing a spur line to Southcentral Alaska from the proposed natural gas pipeline.

"We are listening to Alaskans, have been throughout the public revue process," Murkowski said. "One of their main concerns is in-state use of the gas. This appropriation will help show all Alaskans that we are committed to providing the best information for getting a line built to our most vital region.

"The Kenai Peninsula will be the engine that drives the economics of a spur line. But we need to prove that the market is there, while also continuing to try and incorporate, whenever and wherever we can, the needs and opinions of Alaskans.

"It is important to get this process started now," Murkowski said. "Because every moment we wait, we can see our window of opportunity to provide low-cost energy to all Alaskans."

The Senate will read the appropriation bill across Wednesday, July 26. The House Bill is HB 3006.


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Office of the Governor

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Ketchikan, Alaska