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Special Session begins Monday. We’ll be there

By REP. LANCE PRUITT

Tomorrow is July 8, and the Alaska Legislature is due to begin the second special legislative session on the Permanent Fund Dividend at Wasilla Middle School.

This is exactly where the House Republicans will be, alongside a number of our Senate colleagues.

Each legislature is established with power granted by the people of Alaska, for the purpose of creating the laws that govern our great state. Despite all the changes, one foundational underpinning remains constant: Alaskans expect, as they should, that those who make law should also be subject to it. No one in Alaska is exempt from compliance, and those who do not comply are made to face the consequences for violation.

Rather than changing the law through the process laid out in our Constitution, the legislature has made an unfortunate habit of simply ignoring laws that don’t fit the agenda of the moment, and it’s sending the wrong message to Alaskans.

The Constitution defines the governor’s powers, and in the case of calling for special sessions, they are broad. The governor has the authority to call a special session when, where, and on whatever topic he feels is necessary. 

We have the largest, most geographically diverse state in the country, and our state’s framers took this into consideration during their deliberation and debate. Special session locations were left open to change through statute, and the Legislature defined that change in 1982.

The change allows the governor to choose the location for special sessions and bring the unique topics under debate to other regions of Alaska. When the statute was adopted, legal experts saw no conflict with the constitution, and to this day, the statute has remained in effect.

In 2015, Governor Bill Walker called a special session on Medicaid expansion to be held in Juneau. The Legislature followed the law by convening in Juneau, and with a three-quarters vote, moved the special session to Anchorage.

Logistically, this was a challenge, but well worth the effort of bringing a session to another region of Alaska. This Legislature could follow that precedent and example, but it has chosen instead to willfully ignore what is clearly written in statute, as well as actions taken by previous Legislatures.

The law is clear: special session should begin tomorrow in Wasilla.

We cannot control what other members of our respective bodies choose to do with their time tomorrow, nor where they choose to be. But we will not be complicit in any attempts to undermine the law or diminish the reverence that we expect Alaskans to hold for it. 

It’s entirely possible that we may arrive to start work on legislative business tomorrow without a quorum, but we will be following the law and we encourage our colleagues to do the same.  

Alaskans are watching, and our willingness to adhere to the laws we create will, undoubtedly, be noticed. 

We hope to see you in Wasilla. 

Lance Pruitt represents Alaska’s 27th District in the House of Representatives and serves as the House Minority Leader. 

Donations Welcome

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Latest comments

  • Good for him. If I have it right, no quorum in either place before Saturday, the people win and the cuts stay?
    Can the governor issue the PFD amount by decree? How did Palin order that extra $1000?

  • Full PFD with what was not given for the past 3.

  • Those legislators who chose to fly to Juneau ( on the State’s dime unless they used a broom) should be made to pay for their own tickets. No way we should have to pay for them to break the law.

    • How about the voters do the right thing and vote them put of office.

  • It’s good to see some of our elected representatives still believe in the rule of law.

    • What rule of law is that Steve-O??

      • Bill,

        This should help put your troubled mind at ease

        AS 24.05.100
        (b) A special session may be held at any location in the state.  If a special session called under (a)(1) of this section is to be convened at a location other than at the capital, the governor shall designate the location in the proclamation.  If a special session called under (a)(2) of this section is to be convened at a location other than at the capital, the presiding officers shall agree to and designate the location in the poll conducted of the members of both houses.

        https://codes.findlaw.com/ak/title-24-legislature-and-lobbying/ak-st-sect-24-05-100.html

        Section (a)1 deals with the governor calling the special session. And just to review for you the meaning of a statute is a law enacted by a legislature.

        • Unfortunately your stated statute conflicts with Alaska Constitution and thus is worthless.
          Yours is the troubled mind! I know this is troubling for someone with little knowledge about how our government works. Read up a bit on Constitutional issues and look into how the courts respond when a statute conflicts with the Constitution-Don Trump is often reminded of these issues and you seem to be inflicted with the same limited intellect.
          Keep trying!

  • Please feel free to inform me exactly where the conflict is, using the actual words of the Constitution, come on Bill you’re a smart enough guy to teach a dim bulb with a limited intellect like myself right? Or is all you have name calling and an inability to actually make a logical and well thought out point?

    • Steve-O, you’ll get to see the conflict when the courts rule on Al Vezey’s lawsuit. I don’t have to make you drink the water, just lead you to the source. If you are too limited in intellect to understand the opinion by Legislative Affairs, I can’t help. Sometimes fools are too stupid to even recognize that they are a fool.

      • “Sometimes fools are too stupid to even recognize that they are a fool.” I agree, I’m glad you’ve finally grasped that simple concept. The term Dunning-Krueger explains it perfectly. Most the time these types somehow think they are smarter than and superior to others. Sounds like somebody I know…

        • Just gibberish Steve-O indicating the stress is getting to you, it seems. Your only problem is that this Legislature is getting done something that you don’t agree with. Tough noogies!
          It’s always tough to be on the losing side but I’m thinking you may as well get used to it as hitching your wagon to Dunleavy was not such a smart move IMO.

          • What exactly are they getting done Bill? They don’t have enough votes in Juneau to do anything. I guess for the ill informed and ignorant them being there means something is getting done? They were called into special session to deal with the pfd, when they gavel in they have 5 days to override the vetos. They don’t have the numbers to do either.

          • They have a quorum and can pass a PFD that many Alaskans will not be represented, as their reps. will be at the Thrilla in Wasilla. I’m guessing it will not be a full statutory PFD but those at the Thrilla are not concerned in the least, right? They clearly don’t have the numbers to access the CBR but my guess is that they won’t need that with the PFD amount that will be passed.

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