Rep. Mike Chenault, R- Nikiski, talks to reporters April 13 during a House Minority press availability. On Monday, Chenault asked for the House majority to name conference committee members for Senate Bill 26. (Photo by Skip Gray/360 North)The Legislature appears to be stuck.Listen nowThe House and Senate haven’t named members to the conference committees that would meet to resolve the two chambers’ differences.Until that happens, the fate of the state’s budget remains uncertain.The Legislature’s agenda remains light for this week, although the Senate Resources Committee has introduced its own version of oil and gas tax legislation and the Senate Labor and Commerce Committee is scheduled to hold a public hearing on a bill to reintroduce an income tax.It remains to be seen how the House and Senate will go about negotiating compromises.The Senate wants a more limited agenda – with a focus on the budget and to the Permanent Fund bill.Majority-caucus senators feel this will help finish the session faster.The House majority feels that all of the committees can continue to do work while the conference committees meet.There have been differences between the two chambers throughout the session.The House has passed 47 bills, the Senate has passed 24. It’s the first time in 24 years that there’s a Democratic speaker, so House members may see a new opportunity for some bills.House Minority Whip and former Speaker Mike Chenault said on Monday that the majority should name members to a conference committee on the bill that would make changes to Permanent Fund earnings.“If there’s a reason or strategy why the majority is waiting to name the conference committee for Senate Bill 26, the minority in this body and the public deserve a sound reason,” Chenault said.Chenault decided against pushing further, and Speaker Bryce Edgmon didn’t publicly address the point. But House Rules Chairwoman Gabrielle LeDoux pointed out that the Senate majority hasn’t named members to a conference committee on the budget.
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