Stutes urges Dunleavy to stop moving state toward shutdown

Gov. Mike Dunleavy. (May 15, 2019) Photo courtesy of Paxson Woelber/The Alaska Landmine

Speaker of the House Louise Stutes, R-Kodiak, has called on Gov. Mike Dunleavy on the eve of a second special legislative session beginning on Wednesday, June 24, to stop moving the state closer to a government shutdown.

Stutes said on Tuesday, June 22, that “the fact that the governor is reaching out to the chief justice of the Superior Court on a pending illegal matter is inappropriate and troubling.

“Alaska just got through one of the toughest years in our history, and the governor should stop using our limited time and money on a lawsuit that will drive us one step closer to a state-imposed shutdown,” she said.

Stutes’s comments came a day after Alaska Attorney General Treg Taylor filed a lawsuit with the Alaska Superior Court, asking the court to determine whether Dunleavy can legally sign a budget devoid of words setting the starting date for that budget.

Stutes said she would encourage Dunleavy to focus his energy on approaches that would avoid locking down the state economy, starting with helping to get the votes needed from the House minority to pass a procedural motion to eliminate any uncertainty around when the budget takes effect. It also means preparing to utilize short-term borrowing provisions described in Article 9, Section 10 of the Alaska Constitution if negotiations breakdown she said.

“Once the effective date clause is resolved and the shutdown is averted, the House Coalition is fully committed to finding a permanent solution to the PFD this year that Alaskans can support,” Stutes, said.