Andrew Kitchenman, Alaska Public Media & KTOO - Juneau
Working group members say they want the committee’s work to help end the annual legislative fights over permanent fund dividends.
Gov. Mike Dunleavy has called for a second special session to be hosted in Wasilla next month. The session’s agenda is limited to PFD funding.
With large differences remaining over permanent fund dividends, that means the special session will likely end Thursday or Friday with more work left to do.
If an amendment to the capital budget to pay full permanent fund dividends isn’t successful, the Republican House minority leader expects there won’t be enough votes to draw from the Constitutional Budget Reserve.
It’s not clear how deeply Gov. Mike Dunleavy will cut using the line-item veto. Medicaid, the university and school bond debt reimbursement are the areas with the biggest increases over what he proposed.
If the Senate passes the budget bill on Monday as expected, it would go to Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s desk later this week. If he signs it, it would avoid a state government shutdown on July 1.
Health care advocates said nursing homes and behavioral health providers are among those who may not have large cash reserves to cover costs during a delay.
The bill would require an additional $1.3 billion in combined cuts to state spending and savings.
Senate Bill 1002 would allow state spending on the dividend to stay within the mandates of a law passed last year that aims to allow the fund to grow by keeping draws from fund earnings at a sustainable level.
Gov. Mike Dunleavy sent a message to state workers Wednesday afternoon, saying layoff notices would go out if the Legislature hasn’t passed a budget by June 14.
Rep. Adam Wool, D-Fairbanks, speaks during a House floor session on March 11. Wool was one of two representatives who voted against a revised bill dealing with criminal justice, House Bill...
Lawmakers say they hope a lawsuit won’t be needed. But lawyers for the Legislature and the Dunleavy administration differ on whether a law passed last year can provide funding for next school year.
Governor Mike Dunleavy’s office is considering sites in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough and elsewhere on the road system for a possible second special session.
It’s not clear that lawmakers will be able to resolve differences over PFDs by the June 3 deadline to provide layoff notices — or in time to avoid a state government shutdown on July 1.
The House bill could provide the basis for breaking the current impasse over the budget and permanent fund dividends. But it’s unclear how much support there is for the bill in the Legislature.
The compromise bill, which repeals a controversial criminal justice reform law passed in 2016, would lead to longer criminal sentences. The Alaska Legislature plans to take it up next week.
The Alaska Legislature failed to pass a budget or a crime bill Wednesday, the last day of the 121-day session. But it will pick up Thursday where it left off, after Gov. Mike Dunleavy called the Legislature into a special session.
North Pole Republican Rep. Tammie Wilson said Dunleavy’s office agreed to provisions of House Bill 49 in private discussions that the administration has since criticized.
The Senate Finance Committee passed House Bill 49 on Sunday after adding elements of a criminal justice package proposed by Gov. Mike Dunleavy.