Walker Commands Lawmakers To Act On Appointments

Gov. Bill Walker has issued a proclamation that would force legislators to act on his appointments.

The executive proclamation comes days after legislative leadership cancelled their confirmation session — and days after the governor sent a six-page letter reiterating that he would veto a contentious gasline bill and urging lawmakers not to override him. All of the governor’s cabinet members and board appointments require legislative approval before the end of the session, or else the appointments are voided. In February, legislative leadership requested a legal memo explaining the consequences of disregarding the confirmation vote.

In a press release, Walker stated he was “concerned” by the memo and the cancellation, adding that “the risk that these hardworking Alaskans will not have the opportunity of a confirmation vote is unacceptable.”

Members of Legislature have expressed reservations about some of Walker’s nominations, including his pick for attorney general and his appointments to the Alaska Gasline Development Corporation.

The joint session is scheduled for Friday at 10 a.m. While the legislators are obligated to convene at that time, they are not required to take an up-down vote on the individual appointments.

The last time a governor forced lawmakers into joint session over confirmations was in 1983, when then-Gov. Bill Sheffield sent state troopers after legislators to force them to appear on the floor.