JUNEAU — A House-Senate panel of the Alaska Legislature agreed Monday to keep its statewide Legislative Information Office network open full-time.
The 8-1 vote reverses a cost-cutting decision made in 2016 to close the offices on Friday afternoons.
“The LIO functions as the person you call for help when you need help with the legislative process,” explained Tim Powers, who manages the offices for the Legislative Affairs Agency, the nonpartisan division that handles maintenance and logistics for the Alaska Legislature.
The Legislative Information Offices that will be open full time are located in Anchorage, Bethel, Fairbanks, Juneau, Kenai, Ketchikan, Kodiak, Mat-Su, Nome, Seward and Sitka.
The Legislative Affairs Agency is not asking for additional funding to reverse the Friday-afternoon closures, said Jessica Geary, the agency’s executive director. Instead, cuts and efficiencies elsewhere have freed enough money to operate the offices again.
“I think having the staff able to work full-time like the rest of the agency is a really good use of the budget,” she said shortly before the vote.
In other action, the council also approved $150,000 for new computer hardware and $19,000 for a pair of busts of former Gov. Bill Egan. The sculptures have been commissioned to commemorate the 60th anniversary of Alaska statehood and will be created by Roy Peratrovich, son of Alaska Native civil rights leader Elizabeth Peratrovich.