121 days: No budget, no crime bill, no PFD - Must Read Alaska
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Monday, December 16, 2019
HomePolitics121 days: No budget, no crime bill, no PFD

121 days: No budget, no crime bill, no PFD

WILL THERE BE A GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN JULY 1?

The Alaska Legislature has met for 121 days and has not yet accomplished much. They enshrined Katie John Day as an official day of recognition. And passed Black History Month and Native Heritage Month resolutions. A few minor bills flew through during the waning hours.

But the Legislature has one job that it must do: Pass a budget. And so far, there’s no operating budget, no education funding, no capital budget, no Permanent Fund dividend appropriation, and no rollback of SB 91, the crime bill.

Gov. Michael Dunleavy called the House and Senate back into special session in Juneau starting at 10 am on Thursday.

“It’s painfully clear that after spending the last four months in session, lawmakers will not complete the people’s business by midnight tonight,” Dunleavy said. “Alaskans have every right to be disappointed by the legislature’s inaction, but Alaskans are also expecting final action on legislation to address the most pressing issues facing our state like giving law enforcement and prosecutors the tools they need to stop criminals and reducing state spending. As a result, I am calling a 30-day special session to give lawmakers another opportunity to complete the critical tasks they were sent to accomplish by the People of Alaska.”

The proclamation directs the Legislature to work on five items:

  • An education appropriation bill to bring a solution to the FY20 education budget
  • HB39 – Operating Budget which includes a full PFD under calculation
  • HB40 Mental Health Budget
  • SB19 Capital Budget
  • HB49 Criminal Justice Reform Package

“I told Alaskans earlier today that these items must be completed before adjournment and we would remove any of the five items from the call if they passed by midnight tonight. Now, I urge lawmakers to work with me in the remaining days to get these bills passed and bring the special session to a close.

“If the legislature again fails to adopt a full PFD, operating and capital budgets, fund education and pass an effective crime package, it will be evident we will need to move to a new venue,” Dunleavy said.

Earlier today, he indicated he was thinking about calling for the special session to be held in the Mat-Su Valley.

Both the House and Senate gaveled out in the 11th hour of May 15, as required by the Alaska Constitution. The special session is limited to 30 days, but the governor can call additional special sessions.

The fiscal year begins July 1, and without a budget, the government would begin to shut down. Already, Dunleavy has said that unless the House and Senate add education funding into their budget, his administration cannot constitutionally release funds to education districts around the state.

(Check back. This story will be updated.)

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Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.

Latest comments

  • Question is , Has our legislature committed “nonfeasance (failure to act where there was a duty to act)? I say YES Can we Alaskans do anything about it YES AS 39.15.010 -.100 gives us the power!

  • Gary Knopp

  • I’m surprised that I haven’t heard of any recall efforts, especially for Knopp.

  • Bring those bastards to the valley!

    • Amen Mongo! And a case lot of Depends. They are gonna need them.

  • What happened to moving them to the valley??? I’m disappointed in the lack of follow through.

    • Kinda hard to constantly scream fiscal responsibility only to hold a special session in the valley. The governor made the right decision.

  • Dock weeks of pay for all of the House members. This legislative session was the most effed up in state history. Bunch of morons and idiots on the 2nd, 4th, 5th Floors of the Capitol Building. And get our $3,600 PFD, Governor. Show us who the BOSS really is.

  • Disappointed in not moving session to Wasilla! Since we cannot afford to go to Juneau, we must call often and with the strongest views and demands possible!

  • This is one heckuva game of chicken we’re witnessing. Question is, will the legislature take away the Governor’s steering wheel, or not? (That is, figure out a work around any vetoes)

    Hold the course Governor, they will blink when they see the red ink.

  • This is the worst Legislature in Alaska history! (except for all the ones prior).
    It’s called “making the sausage”. You may like sausage but you wouldn’t want to see how its made or what’s in it!

  • My suggestion for years has been to move them to the closed prison in the Valley, allow one assistant/aide each, use jail trustees for kitchen and housekeeping duties, and lock them in until they’ve done what they’re paid to do. No per diem, since they’ll have no expenses, no personal chef, and no multiple assistants. Add scheduled visiting hours, so constituents could personally let them know what’s expected by those they’re supposed to represent. My guess is, they’d get stuff done, quickly!

    • Not a bad scenario but it has at least two flaws. First is that we do not have enough empty jail space to make it work. Second is that based on personalities and a lack of governing moral principles, the “ends-justifies-the-means” Democrats would kill all the Republicans. Not a good result.

      • The whole prison is empty, there’s plenty of room. And I’d put the few serious conservatives against all the soy boys and traitorous wenches any day. Especially if local constituents can actually observe the daily shenanigans, which I suspect would be much shorter lived than they are in the Juneau bubble.

  • Calling this session in Juneau was the right move. Everyone is there. If Gov had called for Wasilla or Anchorage legislators would have needed “time” while they reshuffle and move to new location. To be sure, legislature would have needed at least a few weeks so they could get some fishing or playtime.

    Need a law that legislators fishing/hunting licenses are invalid during session or while under special session. Also, all their boats, RV’s, airplanes, ATV, and motorcycle registrations are temporarily suspended too. Maybe, just maybe, legislature will get the message that Alaskans expect them to get it done in regular session.

  • I’m so proud of Governor Dunleavy. He, single handedly, jerked the rug right out from under the dim/wingnut plan to “backdoor” all his attempts to do the right thing for Alaska and Alaskans. The more I see and hear the Governors responses to the nonsense being produced by the dims, the more faith and confidence I have in him. Yahoo!! A Governor for Alaska and Alaskans. About time. The dims surely thought they had him. I think a different opinion should be forthcoming regarding the dims thinking they could outsmart our Governor. They, combined, are certainly no match for Governor Dunleavy. I’ll leave it there.

  • Governor:
    Call the special session to be held at API. That way, when it’s over, 50% of the idiots can go directly to group therapy. The remainder can stay put in lockdown…..a few in Posey belts, and a few in police custody.

    • Put em all on Zanax and Ridilin. Keep them away from the general population.

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