Alaska lawmakers, Palin bicker to the end

JUNEAU -- The 2009 session of the Alaska Legislature is scheduled to close today with tempers short and lawmakers battling with each other and with Gov. Sarah Palin.

There was a Saturday blowup when Fairbanks Republican Rep. Mike Kelly objected to appropriating state energy assistance money and suggested people in rural Alaska should cut wood rather than rely on the proposed state aid. Members of the Republican-led majority in the state House later huddled behind closed doors for much of the day, with lawmakers saying there were internal conflicts over personalities, bills that have not moved and what to do about $9 million that Palin wants for pursuing an in-state natural gas pipeline.

There was less drama in the state Senate. But the session is nearing an end with no conclusion in sight to the war that's dragged on for weeks between Palin and Senate Democrats over a vacant Juneau state Senate seat.

The governor's chief of staff sent senators a letter Saturday saying she's standing behind an appointee that's already been rejected and wants to have a meeting about it.

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