Alaska Legislators Fly to D.C. on the Taxpayer’s Dime

The ADN reports:

This will be a very slow week in the Legislature, with nearly half the Senate and at least 25 percent of the House headed to Washington, D.C., for the annual Energy Council confab.

There are no committee meetings scheduled in Juneau on Thursday or Friday.

Energy Council is a get-together of legislators from energy-producing states and Canada to talk oil, gas and the like. The Alaska Legislature has always pretty much shut down every year at Energy Council time, a practice that continued after voters shortened the 120-day sessions to 90 days a couple years ago.

Legislators say it’s a chance to hear speakers, read reports and talk to federal lawmakers and regulators. The state pays the costs of the trip, and at least 19 of Alaska’s legislators are heading to Washington for it this year. The full costs won’t be clear until the lawmakers apply to the state for reimbursement.


Here are the state representatives approved by the speaker to attend the Energy Council:

Rep. Craig Johnson, R-Anchorage – House Resources Committee Co-Chair

Rep. Kyle Johansen, R-Ketchikan – House Majority Leader

Rep. John Coghill, R-North Pole – House Rules Committee Chair

Rep. Mark Neuman, R-Susitna Valley – House Resources Committee Co-Chair

Rep. Anna Fairclough, R-Eagle River – House Finance Committee member

Rep. Nancy Dahlstrom, R-Eagle River – House Majority Whip

Rep. Charisse Millett, R-Anchorage – House Special Committee on Energy Co-Chair

Rep. Jay Ramras, R-Fairbanks – House Judiciary Committee Chair

Rep. Bryce Edgmon, D-Dillingham – House Special Committee on Energy Co-Chair

Rep. Harry Crawford, D-Anchorage – House Finance Committee member

Others might be going as well. Reps Kawasaki, Tuck and Buch have excused absences from session.

Here’s the list of state senators who are going:

Sen. Gary Stevens, R-Kodiak – Senate President

Sen. Charlie Huggins, R-Wasilla – Rules Committee Chairman, Finance Committee and Resources Committee member

Sen. Bert Stedman, R-Sitka – Finance Committee Co-Chair, Resources Committee and Energy Committee member

Sen. Lesil McGuire, R-Anchorage – Energy Committee Chair, Resources Committee Co-Chair

Sen. Donny Olson, D-Nome – Finance Committee member

Sen. Bill Wielechowski, D-Anchorage – Resources Committee Co-Chair, Energy Committee member

Sen. Hollis French, D-Anchorage – Judiciary Committee Chairman, Resources Committee member

Sen. Gene Therriault, R-North Pole – Minority Leader, Judiciary Committee member

Sen. Tom Wagoner, R-Kenai – Resources Committee member

Let’s make sure that they do not waste any taxpayer funds in Washington D.C. I am positive that the Alaska media will cover all of their expenses and make sure that they are 100% in line. I see that both Jay Ramras and Hollis French will be taking part in the taxpayer funded vacation to Washington D.C.

Of course, Ramras and French would be the same people whining if Governor Palin had decided to fly to Washington D.C. for the NGA.

My question to the legislators is this: Why are you ignoring the needs of Alaskans to enjoy taxpayer funded trips to Washington D.C.?

UPDATE by Ramrocks: Of course, it’s perfectly reasonable for the AK legislature to fly to D.C. It’s simply annoying that the governor is not allowed to leave the state without causing the political equivalent of a volcanic eruption.

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