After 31 days of blah-blah-blah and serious inaction, the Alaska House finally has organized. Well, kinda.
After all the hubbub, teeth-gnashing and hand-wringing, there still is no clear majority caucus, although House members have managed to approve committees that will allow them to actually get something done rather than simply wasting time playing politics.
On one side, there is a supposed 20-member caucus of four Democrats, two Republicans and four undeclared Democrats constituting an ersatz majority. On the minority side? Eighteen Republicans and a Democrat and Republican in neither caucus.
Kodiak Republican Rep. Louise Stutes, who caucuses with Democrats, is the new House speaker. She tells KTUU she has 21 members for procedural votes in the 40-member House, but she would not identify the 21st vote.
In a year when lawmakers are going to have to deal with a chronic budget deficit, the future of the Permanent Fund dividend, taxes and a host of other serious problems confronting Alaskans, this is what we get: A fluid Democrat-driven House “majority” in a mostly conservative state.
This legislative session is shaping up to be very interesting.