24 hours: Juneau session attendees look for Hail Mary - Must Read Alaska
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Sunday, October 20, 2019
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24 hours: Juneau session attendees look for Hail Mary

With just 24 hours to go to override the governor’s vetoes, the two-thirds of the legislature that is in Juneau is trying to figure out a last-ditch effort to restore $440 million in government spending through veto overrides.

They didn’t have enough people in the room to succeed, however, even if everyone voted to override.

During their floor speeches about the operating budget in Thursday’s joint session, their speaking tones were not quite as defiant as on Wednesday. They pleaded. They begged their colleagues in Wasilla to join them.

Only Sen. David Wilson of Wasilla had heeded the call to come to Juneau, and they all knew he was a no vote on an override.

They were in the process of suffering from a humiliating defeat by the more conservative legislators — the “Thrifty One-Third” who have sided with Gov. Michael Dunleavy’s call for the second Special Session to be held in Wasilla.

Sen. John Coghill speaks about the cuts to the University of Alaska.

Sen. John Coghill expressed sadness. His community of Fairbanks will take a major hit when the University of Alaska restructures to adapt to a $135 million cut. The university of one of the three pillars of the Fairbanks economy, he said, along with mining and military. He cautioned that many small businesses that exist because of the university employment base will go belly up.

Sen. Tom Begich’s voice broke as he talked about losing the state he loves. He reminisced about working as a legislative aide during the days when the oil money flowed and spending was reckless.

Rep. Andy Josephson said he would fight on until his last breath:

“This ship will be righted or I will die trying. We will do everything we can through every mechanism before us,” Josephson said. He said he thought all the people who want a full PFD will probably get in their Winnebagos and leave the state if they don’t get them.

Rep. Chuck Kopp called on all to compromise, but seemed to especially want the governor to compromise, likening the Legislature to a lighthouse — immovable — and the governor to a battleship that had better change course. At least that was how the analogy was delivered, although Kopp may have meant something different.

Rep. Bryce Edgmon withdrew his motion to rescind the vote from Wednesday that failed to override the operating budget vetoes. To vote again was futile. He spoke in conciliatory terms at the end of today’s joint floor session, saying that all sides need to work together.

Session adjourned at 12:25 pm on Thursday as rumors flew through political circles about how Friday would play out, with a noon deadline for veto overrides looming: Would legislators in Juneau get on a plane and come north?

Or will legislators in Wasilla fly south so that at least the capital budget veto override motion, offered today by Sen. Lyman Hoffman, can be voted on.

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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

  • All of the “rogue” legislators are doing nothing but crying crocodile tears for their “handlers”, to ensure that they look good for re-election coffers/donors. It’s just disgusting! And then the drivel from Andy Josephson’s mouth … enough to make one sick! Not to mention Chuck Kopp’s call to compromise. How about compromising with keeping your trap shut!

    • It is all a show, “We tried to veto” will be their battle cry. If they really wanted to accomplish something they would be in Wasilla instead of posturing in Juneau.

  • An open letter to the “Thrifty One-Third”:

    Stand your ground. Stay the course. Do what your constituents elected you to do.

  • Senator Coghill must feel right at home with all of those university people who so adamantly believe in ABORTION. Good work, John.

    • His dad would have shown up in Wasilla with the conservatives. John got this one wrong. He joins the baby killers in Juneau.

      • Carrying a sign against abortion, outside of a Fairbanks abortion clinic, may have become problematic for the Senator, now that he has found new friends in Juneau who oppose our anti-abortion governor. Right, John?

        • An “Anti-Abortion” sign in one hand, and a “No $3K PFD” sign in the other? Where is Coghill going to put his “Democrats Are God’s Children Too” sign?

          • He could call his religious friends for help. Cross out “God’s” and “Too.” Now you have a sign with meaning.

  • Reality sinking in down there among the swamp creatures? Dunleavy (Trump) not the swishing, give ’em what they want, CEO they’re used to yucking around with? Swamp creatures in disbelief that overburdened taxpayers have had a bellyfull of the never ending greed of state (Federal) politicians? So much shocked disbelief that the unions and every other special interest group in the state (USA) have finally elected a Governor (President) who cares more about the rule of law than the whining, pewling, handwringing, denizens of darkness?

    I thank God for Gov. Dunleavy (Pres. Trump) and all those good men and women who have their backs. We will prevail!

  • No law affirms the Juneau “session” is legitimate, so why should productive Alaskans care what what these lawbreakers do?
    .
    Instead, let us respectfully request Alaska’s Attorney General act to recover, with appropriate penalties, all per diem, transportation, and incidental costs paid in support of the fraudulent Juneau “session”.

    • Amen. The only right thing to do. Also, how many lawbreakers took staff with them to Juneau? Their costs should also be repaid.

  • Well it may take three fourths to override but it only takes 2/3rds to impeach. Given that 31 percent of Alaskans approve of their governor and his decision to fiddle while the state burns I think it’s time the senate started the impeachment.
    ***
    Time to say goodbye to this tool of the Koch Brothers and his out state handlers.

    • You are about as ingnorant as the Senators and Representatives that defied the legality of going to Juneau instead of following the Constitution and going to Wasilla. More than 31 percent believe in the Governor that is why he won handly in the election.

      • Totally agree. Dunleavy hasn’t done anything he didn’t say he would do when he ran for governor. Unless you think that most of the people who voted for him actually thought that he didn’t mean what he promised.

        • The 2/3 that favored impeachment would be voted out by their constituents. Dunleavy is here to stay whether you like it or not.

  • The state should have started cutting back a few years ago. Now is not the time to say start a slow roll back!!!! Coghill is toast and I will make sure many do not vote for him. We all had to cut back due to the slow down, the state never did under Walker and these fools!!!

  • It’s called WINNING!

  • The constitutional requirement of a three-fourths majority to override a gubernatorial veto of an appropriation has been around for decades. Most recently, all should have recognized that a governor inclined to reduce the operating budget would change the legislative calculation. And part of that would shift power to the minority Republicans. Instead, the majorities trashed and thrashed the Governor and ignored and belittled the minority Republicans. And now we have the train wreck. I would suggest to the majorities that they take a couple of days off and spend some time looking in a mirror. Then come back to work and start behaving like they understand the reality that they may not like: Find out what the Governor wants and will accept. Do the same with the minority Republicans. Compromise. Tell the various interest groups that things have changed. Pass a PFD. Fund the capital budget. See if you can restore a fraction of the budget cuts. Then go home. Just a few things to think about.

    • I watched the video of the joint floor session after I posted the above comment. Several legislators spoke passionately about “compromise” and seeking agreement with the minority Republicans and the Governor. The problem is that the version of “compromise” sought by the majority involves complete capitulation by the other side. There is no reason to think that the compromise sought by the majority involves ANY significant accommodation by the majority. I do not think that they have reassessed their situation at all. This is going to get much worse.

  • Just found out, tomorrow, technical session in Juneau. The legal legislators are meeting, again tomorrow! We need as many conservatives to show up! Keep up the great attitudes, civility, and respect! It is working. Sooner than later, even the Fake News Media will have to start showing us and real interviews with our great legislators, not stupid questions about how they feel about some out of State band playing!
    I understand the legal action has been submitted and called for a rapid decision. From what I gather this is an affirmative injunction, meaning the outlaw legislators must follow the law and come to Wasilla. Maybe Wednesday for a hearing? I just hope and pray we get a judge that stand on the Constitution, not his political bias!

  • ?

  • Josephson and his hate mongering is incorrect. I know a bunch of people in 2 villages that want a full PFD. They have mouths to feed and bills to pay. And they don’t own winnebagos and neither do I. What a moron. Begich said it right, remembering back when oil money flowed like water and spending was out of control like the Congress was high on sugar. These days we need to reduce spending because revenue isn’t there. But Bryce and his followers took the easy route. Steal money from Alaskan citizens who count on a full PFD to make ends meet. Tell me how stealing $10000 from a family of 6 who only make $15000 a year is what is best for poor people out in the bush. It’s just a sad shame that his out of control spending has got us here in the first place. Now, Alaskans are at each other’s throats and I think he must be ok with it as long as he continues to fund his secret agenda and he keeps his job. Not sure how he can sleep at night knowing Alaskans are hurting at his hand.

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