June 5, 2009
When the first session of Alaska’s 26th Legislature comes to a close this weekend, elected officials will have introduced more than 400 bills. As of Wednesday, they had passed about ten. A last-minute flurry of legislation is status quo, but a boatload of ideas will still be put on ice until the second session begins in January 2010.
One bill meant to trigger energy efficiency projects in state-owned buildings will likely be one of those revisited during the second session. Senate Bill 121, and the state House version HB 148, seem to have bi-partisan support, appealing to liberals who want to reduce the collective carbon footprint and conservatives who want to save the state money, even if they’re suspicious of whether carbon footprints are a genuine concern. These bills enact into law efficiency standards for public facilities that saved the state about $360,000 on utility bills in an eight building pilot project. Next year it is estimated that the eight buildings will save the state more than a half million dollars.