House finally organized: Hannan, Story get assignments

Committees can start working on legislation

The House has organized, finally, and Juneau’s freshman representatives have been given committee leadership assignments.

Rep. Andi Story, D-Juneau, will co-chair the House Education Committee. Rep. Sara Hannan, D-Juneau, will co-chair the Community and Regional Affairs Committee and the special committee on Arctic Policy, Economic Development and Tourism, which is often called AET.

Committees are where bills, including the Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s budget bill, are tweaked and amended by the legislators.

During the House floor session, in which the committee assignments were confirmed, the assignments saw mild opposition from House Republicans, including an objection from Rep. David Eastman, R-Wasilla, who opposed the entire Committee on Committees report.

All things considered, Hannan said the House organized quickly since it elected a speaker on Thursday. Typically organization takes up to a month and takes place in between the election and session start. Hannan said the House put in a lot of work to accomplish this.

Hannan was asked if she was surprised to have to committee leadership roles as a freshman.

“No. I’ve been working hard,” Hannan said.

And as for her desire to be on the Community and Regional Affairs committee she figured she might be able to protect Juneau because it would deal with “Where the legislature is meeting, or Capitol buildings moving, things like that,” Hannan said “That’s why I arm wrestled for that one.”

As for the AET committee, Hannan said just about anything could be discussed in the Arctic Policy, Economic Development and Tourism committee.

“I think climate change could be discussed in Artic policy,” Hannan said. “Certainly tourism is major industry in my district, all over my district and the state. It’s the only committee directly tied to that.”

Additionally, Hannan is a member of the Resources and Labor and Commerce committees.

Story said she was “really pleased” with her committee assignments, and believes her 15 years of experience on the City and Borough of Juneau Board of Education has prepared her well or her role in the House Education Committee. In this role she said she can “help shape the agenda” for a education, which is “important to everyone in the state.”

“I feel it’s critical for our states future, our education system,” Story said. “It’s an important committee to make sure we’re equipping our children and adults to fill our work force.”

Story is also on the Transportation and the State Affairs committees.

“I think things have come together well for Juneau,” Story said.

[House surprised with unexpected speaker nomination]

Other leadership assignments include:

• Speaker of the House, Rep. Bryce Edgmon, I-Dillingham.

• Rules Committee chair, Rep. Chuck Kopp, R-Anchorage; Vice Chair, Rep. Jennifer Johnston, R-Anchorage.

• Finance Committee co-chairs, Rep. Neal Foster, D-Nome; and Rep. Tammie Wilson, R-North Pole; and vice chair, Johnston.

• Health and Social Services Committee Co-chairs, Rep. Ivy Sponholz, D-Anchorage; and Rep. Tiffany Zulkosky, D-Bethel.

• Education Committee co-chairs, Story and Rep. Harriet Drummond, D-Anchorage.

• Community and Regional Affairs co-chairs, Drummond and Hannan.

• Judiciary Committee chair, Rep. Matt Claman, D-Anchorage; and Rep. Gabrielle LeDoux, D-Anchorage.

• State Affairs Committee chair, Rep. Jonathan Kreiess-Tomkins, D-Sitka; and vice chair, Rep. Zack Fields, D-Anchorage.

• Resources Committee co-chairs, Rep. Adam Wool, D-Fairbanks, and LeDoux; vice chair, Rep. Chris Tuck, D-Anchorage.

• Transportation Committee co-chairs, Rep. Louise Stutes, R-Kodiak and Wool.

• Special Committee on Energy chair, Rep. Grier Hopkins, R-Fairbanks; and vice-chair, Fields.

• Special Committee on Fisheries chair, Stutes.

• Special Committee on Mimltary and Veterans Affairs, chair, LeDoux; and vice-chair, Tuck.

• Contact reporter Kevin Baird at 523-2258 or Follow him on Twitter at @alaska_kev.