June 27, 2013 | Volume 43, Number 25

Borough eyes legislative office

Haines may soon be offering its residents a faster, more effective way of connecting with legislators and gaining up-to-date information about the goings-on in the state government.

The Haines Borough Assembly passed a resolution Tuesday requesting the Legislative Affairs Council work with the borough to establish a legislative information office (LIO) in the Haines library.

An LIO offers constituents an easier way of communicating with their representatives and accessing up-to-the-minute information about bills, committees, and other legislative goings-on during the session. The offices, of which there are 23 in the state, are staffed and equipped with technology to facilitate these activities.

Library director Patty Brown worked over the winter with Sue Cotter, manager of the legislature’s department responsible for LIOs, to develop a plan for the borough to help shoulder the cost of implementing such a service in Haines.

Under the plan, the borough would donate technology and space at the library, which would reduce start-up costs by $14,050 and on-going costs by $31,200, for a total of $53,000 for an office to be run during the session.

According to the Legislative Affairs Agency, LIOs cost a bit under $100,000.

“The problem is that they claim it’s too expensive to establish an LIO in Haines,” Scott said, hence the borough contribution.

Brown said the library has periodically hosted teleconferencing for legislative sessions on issues of interest to Haines, an opportunity residents have seized on to make their opinions heard in real-time.