Senate leaders optimistic about session finish

    Juneau, Alaska (KINY) The budget, public safety issues, and getting work done, were the topics discussed by the Senate Majority at their weekly press conference.

    Bills to rename the Alaska dating violence law after Bree Moore, a Constitutional Amendment to protect the PFD and a bill to continue criminal justice reforms were moved out of the Senate Judiciary committee to the finance committee Monday but still face long odds for approval this year.

    Saturday, Sen. Bill Wielechowski tried to force a vote in committee on the PFD protection resolution but Chairman John Coghill abruptly ended the meeting.

    The republican senate majority gave predictions on the budget, defended what happened in the judicial committee,and address education funding.

    Senator Lyman Hoffman predicted a deal on a fiscal plan and how to use the permanent fund is near, "At this critical stage in our history, we need to move down the road and have the tools necessary to address our deficit.  If we can address the draw that's fine, if we can address the split, I think that would be a wonderful thing."

    Senate majority leader Peter Micchicchi addressed the governors chief of staff criticizing budget cuts for public safety and trooper support like pilots, "I find it interesting that an administration that has not bothered to do the research to deterrmine what is adequate public safety, is poking at somebody whose worked two years to evaluate the gaps in that department."

    Senate leaders said they are trying to address an increase in salary for troopers to make the jobs easier to fill.

    Only five bills have been passed by both the house and senate so far this year. 

    Senate president Pete Kelly said the house and senate have a better relationship this year.  He said philosophical differences remain.  He predicted the session could end shortly after the 90 days agreed to by voters.  Kelly said  he did not object to what Senate Judicial Committee Chairman Coghill did to halt a vote on the PFD measure.

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