Alaska House speaker boots Kito as Legislative Council chair

Rep. Sam Kito III in a hearing in Juneau April 10, 2018. (KTUU)
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JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) - An Alaska lawmaker who broke with his caucus over the handling of smoking legislation has been removed as chair of the Legislative Council.

House Speaker Bryce Edgmon removed Rep. Sam Kito III from the seat Monday, replacing him with Rep. David Guttenberg.

Kito had been part of the House majority coalition.

But the Juneau Democrat distanced himself from the group after expressing frustration in April with Rep. Gabrielle LeDoux's handling of a smoke-free workplace bill.

LeDoux, a coalition member, refused to schedule the bill for a vote until the end of session, despite it having widespread support.

Kito's vote was critical to the state operating budget passing the House. He says he sought adequate funding for Alaska's ferry system to help ensure his vote.

Neither Kito nor Guttenberg plans to seek re-election.

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