Andrew Kitchenman, Alaska Public Media & KTOO - Juneau
In a declaration Wednesday, Governor Mike Dunleavy amended his call for the second special session to have it take place in Juneau, rather than his original choice: Wasilla.
The dispute is over a law enacted last year and signed by former Gov. Bill Walker. The law sought to provide school funding for both last school year and the coming year.
A draft bill discussed Monday would set permanent fund dividends at $929 to have a balanced budget. House Bill 2001 would both reverse Dunleavy’s vetoes to the operating and capital budgets and set the dividend level.
Dunleavy issued a second round of line-item vetoes, this time on the capital budget. Legislators in Juneau criticized the changes, but didn’t vote on overriding them.
While there won’t be a formal way to override the vetoes after Friday, there may be another path to restoring funding for some line items.
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State senators in Juneau raised alarm on Tuesday about the money swept from state budget accounts into a harder-to-access piggy bank: the Constitutional Budget Reserve.
A former deputy commissioner in Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s administration has been approved for a more-than-$4-million loan from a state agency, drawing criticism from an Anchorage legislator.
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Gov. Mike Dunleavy says the cuts were necessary to balance the budget by next year, while still paying full permanent fund dividends under the formula in state law.
Alaska’s attorney general and the Legislature’s top lawyer are at odds over whether the governor is allowed to set a special session’s location.
Former Alaska state Rep. Jason Grenn sponsored an ethics law last year that affects legislators’ per diems. He called a recent vote on retroactive per diem payments “sad.”
Legislative leaders say the floor sessions would be held at the Capitol in Juneau, while most of the meetings would be in Anchorage at the Legislative Information Office.
The Legislative Council voted unanimously on June 13 to authorize a lawsuit against the Dunleavy administration over education funding.
Dunleavy and lawmakers are engaged in a worthy discussion over the future of Alaska Permanent Fund earnings and dividends.
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.