Alexandra Gutierrez, APRN - Juneau
agutierrez (at) alaskapublic (dot) org | 907.209.1799 | About Alexandra
The House’s Republican Majority is moving forward with a contingency plan to tap the rainy day account without Democratic support. The bill would shift money around the Permanent Fund without using it to plug the state’s multi-billion-dollar deficit.
For weeks, the Alaska Legislature has been wrestling with how to cover its multi-billion-dollar budget deficit. Now one Juneau man has a modest proposal for them: Try crowdfunding.
With negotiations over the state’s multi-billion-dollar budget deficit still underway, the Alaska House and Senate met in brief and uneventful floor sessions over the weekend. But legislative leaders say there has been some progress on a compromise between the Republican Majority and Democratic Minority.
The topics that came up after were varied. Some called for increased education funding, others Medicaid expansion, and then there were comments on a smorgasbord of other cuts. But there was one common theme: frustration.
The Alaska State Legislature has gaveled out of special session, without voting on any of the items on the governor’s agenda. But almost immediately, lawmakers called themselves back — but on their own terms. They have formally relocated to Anchorage, and have set aside Medicaid expansion.
House Finance Committee Chair Steve Thompson says the committee will not advance the Governor’s Medicaid expansion bill.
The next floor sessions are scheduled for Friday and Saturday this week, and are also expected to be technical sessions barring any deal between lawmakers.
The state’s troubled Medicaid payment system has seen improvements in recent months, according to Walker administration officials.
The state’s troubled Medicaid payment system has seen improvements in recent months, according to Walker administration officials. The update comes as Gov. Bill Walker has asked lawmakers to accept federal dollars to expand the state’s Medicaid program.
As part of the Legislature’s majority party, Republican committee chairs have the authority to schedule official hearings. At a press availability on Monday, members of the minority explained they were dissatisfied with the progress of the special session, and decided to hold meetings of their own.
The Walker administration is pushing for more funding for the Office of Children’s Services, in response to the growing number of foster children in the system.
The Division of Motor Vehicles has brought back a 1976 license plate that was originally issued for the United States’ bicentennial. The updated plate features a grizzly reared up against a sunset backdrop.
While Gov. Bill Walker has ordered the Legislature hold its special session in Juneau, lawmakers may have found a workaround: He can’t control where they hold their committee meetings, or how often they have their floor session.
For days, the executive and legislative branches have been stuck on education funding, Medicaid, and the fundamental responsibility of paying for government. Now, they are disagreeing on where they want to disagree.
House Speaker Mike Chenault said he has broached the idea of taking a two-week recess and then reconvening back in Anchorage, noting that construction is scheduled to start on the Capitol building in a matter of days.