Andrew Kitchenman, Alaska Public Media & KTOO - Juneau
A disagreement between the Legislature and Gov. Mike Dunleavy over school funding may be heading toward a constitutional showdown — one that could affect whether the state sends money to school districts.
The budget conference committee is aiming to finish its work in time for the House and Senate to pass the budget by the scheduled end of the session on May 15.
Vic Fischer spoke to the House State Affairs Committee Tuesday, two days after his 95th birthday. He contrasted the state constitution’s language with the proposed amendments.
House members have brought different ideas on addressing crime to the House Judiciary and House Finance committees.
The company will continue to work at the facility through December. The state also has hired a contractor to study whether it makes sense to privatize API.
The Senate passed an earlier version of the bill, which would have repealed the conflict of interest provisions entirely. The House passed its own version. A conference committee agreed on the compromise Monday.
The Alaska Legislature confirmed 82 other members to state boards and commissions during a joint session.
The closest votes were for Public Safety Commissioner Amanda Price and Health and Social Services Commissioner Adam Crum.
The first-year cost is closer to $3 million if the state rents office space instead of building new facilities, analysts find.
Under a measure backed by Gov. Mike Dunleavy, Medicaid would pay the insurance premiums for the people who are shifted over to the private health insurance market.
The Alaska House passed a budget on Thursday that includes $257 million in cuts to the portion of the state budget the Legislature directly controls.
Sen. Natasha von Imhof says the combination of splitting the Alaska Permanent Fund draw and limiting spending would allow PFDs to grow over time.
Gov. Mike Dunleavy said state lawmakers aren’t moving fast enough to pass his big priorities this session. That’s not just an idle threat — Dunleavy has constitutional powers he can use to force lawmakers into action.
The Alaska House Finance Committee has proposed a budget that reduces state spending by $314 million, less than a third of Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s proposed cut of $1.03 billion. The committee finished its work on Friday, proposing cuts that are much greater than those proposed by House subcommittees.
Rep. Ivy Spohnholz said the department didn’t provide enough information to Chief Procurement Officer Jason Soza for him to be able to adequately review the contract, which would pay Wellpath $225 million over five years.
The House Finance Committee voted Wednesday for an amendment that would stop the state from reimbursing municipalities for existing school bond debt.
Gov. Mike Dunleavy told President Donald Trump in a letter dated March 1 that top federal Medicaid official Seema Verma has urged Alaska to be the first state to receive Medicaid dollars as a block grant.
The state stopped covering 60%-70% of new school bonds beginning in 2015. This moratorium is scheduled to end next year; North Pole Republican Rep. Tammie Wilson has sponsored a bill to keep the moratorium in place.