Legislative special session gets underway June 23

Seal of the State of Alaska. (May 13, 2019) Photo courtesy of Paxson Woelber/The Alaska Landmine

Another special session of the Alaska Legislature gets underway on Wednesday, June 23, called by Gov. Mike Dunleavy in the immediate wake of the first special session that ended on Friday, June 18.

Meanwhile, the governor directed his administration to begin distributing layoff notices to state workers in the event of a government shutdown. The governor has not specified what programs would be shut down or how many state workers would be impacted.

Speaker of the House Louise Stutes, R-Kodiak, issued a statement as the first special session came to a close, saying that the fact that the budget that was approved is enough to avoid a shutdown. “It’s hard to comprehend the governor’s decision to ignore more than four decades of legal advice and longstanding precedent,” she said.

“Members of our coalition voted unanimously in favor of a complete budget and an effective date clause that will keep our state running,” Stutes said. “We provided for a $1,100 Permanent Fund dividend, the largest we can afford without threatening the fund’s future, while still supporting the services and programs Alaskans need.

“However, in light of the governor’s interpretation, the House Majority stands ready to reaffirm our yes votes in hopes that the minority will join us. We can fix this by tomorrow. Both House and Senate leadership will continue negotiations in good faith to find a solution before midnight on Friday. We also maintain our commitment to addressing a comprehensive solution to the PFD during the August special session.”