And here's a subsequent July 24th report from KTUU Channel 2.
But the bill was not passed without being amended. The original version called for a separate $1,200 energy assistance check to be cut and sent to each Alaskan. The amended version calls for the $1,200 to be tacked on to each Alaskan's overall Permanent Fund Dividend, which would increase its overall size to $3,000 or more. Here is the precise language of the amended HB4002:
"An Act relating to Alaska resource rebates, and increasing the amount of the 2008 permanent fund dividend by the amount of the rebate; and providing for an effective date"
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF ALASKA
* Section 1. The uncodified law of the State of Alaska is amended by adding a new section to read:
ALASKA RESOURCE REBATES.
(a) To provide residents of the state with an Alaska resource rebate, the amount of the 2008 permanent fund dividend shall be increased. After calculating the amount of the 2008 dividend under AS 43.23.025, the commissioner of revenue shall add $1,200 to determine the total amount of that dividend.
(b) Subject to appropriation, the amount necessary to increase 2008 permanent fund dividends under (a) of this section shall be transferred from the general fund to the dividend fund (AS 43.23.045).
* Sec. 2. This Act takes effect immediately under AS 01.10.070(c).
Click HERE to read the official House journal describing the decision. The remainder of Governor Palin's initiative, described HERE, will be dealt with separately. But the plan has been criticized by some living in the Interior and Bush Alaska because their energy costs are much higher than on the Railbelt, yet they would get the same $1,200. However, some Interior communities are considering their own relief measures. The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports on July 24th that North Pole is considering a one-year suspension of their heating oil sales tax.
Linking the energy rebate to the PFD and combining it to make a "super PFD" makes sense. This would mean only one mailing rather than two separate mailings.