Alaska Legislature plans to reconvene in Juneau to pass federal relief after lawsuit

A hand sanitizer dispenser stands outside Senate Chambers in the Alaska State Capitol in Juneau on March 10, 2020. The Legislature is planning to reconvene next week. (Photo by Skip Gray/KTOO)

The Alaska Legislature is planning to reconvene next week to formally appropriate federal COVID-19 relief, following a lawsuit that seeks to block the state government’s current plan for the relief. 

Lawmakers would meet in Juneau, according to a spokesperson for the Senate majority. 

Legislative staff and the state Department of Health and Social Services are working on rules to discourage coronavirus infections. 

The Legislative Budget and Audit Committee approved Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s plan for more than $1 billion in federal CARES Act relief on Monday. 

Juneau resident Eric Forrer and his lawyer Joe Geldhof filed the lawsuit, which alleges that the process was unconstitutional because the entire Legislature must vote to appropriate spending. Juneau Superior Court Judge Philip Pallenberg has been assigned the case.