Legislature reconvenes on Monday, May 18

Rep. Louise Stutes, R-Kodiak. (July 27, 2019) Photo by Zachary Snowdon Smith/The Cordova Times

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

Shortly after I wrote my piece for the Friday, May 15 print edition of The Cordova Times, there were some important new developments.

As I write this, it is Friday morning. A lawsuit was filed against the state on Wednesday seeking an injunction on the CARES funding approved by the LB&A committee. The lawsuit, filed by a Juneau resident, asserts that the appropriations are invalid as they were not voted on by the full Legislature. A judge has been assigned to the case, but no action has been taken thus far.

Over the past two weeks, I and many others have been advocating for returning to Juneau to appropriate the federal aid. Despite our best efforts, however, there were not enough members supportive of that action to reach a quorum in Juneau. As such, I also supported moving the LB&A Committee process forward because doing nothing was not an option. Getting this funding out now to communities, small businesses, and fishermen is critical.

I will not single any members out, but the lawsuit changed enough hearts and minds to allow us to conduct business in Juneau. I assure you that no one in the Legislature wants to see this funding delayed any further.  

The Legislature is returning to Juneau on Monday, May 18,  to officially ratify the actions of the LB&A Committee and leave no chance of a court injunction on CARES funding. The plan is to conclude our business as soon as humanly possible, focusing solely on CARES funding.

There is an agreement in place to limit our action and debate to the ratification of CARES funding. There are legitimate concerns that politics and debate on non COVID-19 related issues could delay approval of this funding and honoring the agreement will be critical to getting this done in an expedient manner.

Things are developing quickly, but I wanted you to have the most recent information. You have my word as your Representative that I will do everything in my power to facilitate the quickest possible action in Juneau.

I will update you as soon as I know more.

Sincerely,

Louise Stutes