Morning Headlamp – Rides, Robots and Regulations

Wool for the Win. The House on Monday approved legislation that would permit companies like Uber and Lyft to operate throughout Alaska. House Bill 132 by Rep. Adam Wool, D-Fairbanks, would allow the transportation network companies broad latitude to operate throughout Alaska. Headlamp is happy to see this pro-private sector legislation move!

For Real. The Alaska House and Senate have both agreed to comply with the federal Real ID Act, passed by Congress in 2005, but the two legislative bodies passed different bills to do so. On Monday, the Senate approved provisions from Gov. Walker’s Real ID legislation with a vote of 14 to 5. But its fate was tied to House Bill 16 by Rep. Steve Thompson (R-Fairbanks). His measure requires law enforcement to undergo training to recognize people with disabilities and allows the Division of Motor Vehicles to provide a voluntary designation on an ID card or driver’s license indicating a person has a disability.

R2D2 in Valdez! Four crawling robots that can negotiate twists and turns in pipes will be working in Valdez this summer, providing the first internal peeks at 40-year-old sections of pipe branching off the trans-Alaska oil pipeline. Alice, Dee, Fiona and Gary — as the high-tech gizmos with retractable legs are nicknamed — will scout for corrosion inside pipes at the Valdez Marine Terminal, where crude oil from the North Slope flows into giant storage tanks and oceangoing tankers.

Conference Committee Attempts To Resolve Budget Dispute. The conference committee charged with resolving the difference between Alaska House and Senate budget proposals held its organization meeting Monday. House Speaker Bryce Edgmon, D-Dillingham, and Senate President Pete Kelly, R-Fairbanks, each appointed three members to the committee last week. Of the six members, four are the finance committee co-chairs in their respective chambers: Reps. Neal Foster, D-Nome, and Paul Seaton, R-Homer, and Sens. Anna MacKinnon, R-Eagle River, and Lyman Hoffman, D-Bethel. The two minority members on the conference committee are Rep. Lance Pruitt, R-Anchorage, and Sen. Donny Olson, D-Golovin.

Take a Deep Breath.  The State of Alaska is implementing two new regulations aimed at reducing wintertime fine particulate pollution in the Fairbanks-North Pole area. Department of Environmental Conservation program manager Cindy Heil said one of the measures effects the real estate transactions of properties with wood stoves or wood boilers.

Senate Passes Oil Tax Credit Reform. The Senate passed House Bill 111 by a vote of 14-5. The Senate version of the bill ends the cashable tax credit “experiment,” Anchorage Republican Sen. Cathy Giessel said in the floor debate, along with preventing companies producing oil in the state’s largest fields from using deductible credits to take their tax obligation below the 4 percent gross minimum tax. It is less of a tax increase than the version of HB 111 the Democrat-led House Majority sent to the Senate. Headlamp would note the Senate version is a tax increase. $1.24 BILLION over 10 years. 


First Reads

Conference committee set to start work resolving Alaska Legislature’s budget impasse

Alaska Dispatch News, Nathaniel Herz, May 16, 2017

Senate passes its version of oil tax credit reform

Alaska Journal of Commerce, Elwood Brehmer, May 15, 2017

New regulations to reduce fine particle pollution in Interior Alaska
Alaska Public Media, Dan Bross, May 15, 2017

Bill allowing Uber, Lyft in Alaska clears House
Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, Matt Buxton, May 16, 2017

Alaska House, Senate agree to comply with Real ID Act, but pass different bills
KTVA, Liz Raines, May 15, 2017

Meet the robots that will be crawling inside Valdez pipelines this summer
Alaska Dispatch News, Alex DeMarban, May 15, 2017