House averts shutdown, PFD will be $525, and attorney general will pursue answer from court on the 'effective date clause' - Must Read Alaska
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Saturday, November 27, 2021
HomePoliticsHouse averts shutdown, PFD will be $525, and attorney general will pursue answer from court on the ‘effective date clause’

House averts shutdown, PFD will be $525, and attorney general will pursue answer from court on the ‘effective date clause’

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Does the “effective date clause” on legislative bills mean what the founders of the Alaska Constitution intended, or can the governor ignore the clauses and just start spending money on July 1?

The Democrat majority in the House had said everywhere on social media that the governor should disregard the effective date clause on the budget, while the governor says that doing so would violate the Constitution. Without the Legislature’s affirmative action to adjust the effective date, a bill goes into effect 90 days after it is passed.

Alaska’s Attorney General decided that since there was a dispute between the legislative and executive branch, it was for the courts to decide.

The House Democrats blinked, and returned to Juneau to pass a legitimate effective date clause, which may show just how concerned they were about the court decision going against them. For the first time in memory, a government shutdown would have been blamed on the Democrats, something they were not prepared to face.

Now, Alaska’ Attorney General Treg Taylor said that, although the July 1 government shutdown has been averted with the actions in the House today, he will continue to press for an answer from Superior Court, since the situation is likely to arise again.

“While we are pleased that a government shutdown has been averted, the important legal question remains—does the operating budget need a July 1steffective date passed by two-thirds of each house? This has implications for years to come, and it is much better to decide the issue before it arises again in the future with another potential shutdown,” said Taylor. “Getting an answer before the budget process begins again next year would ensure that everyone knows the actual legal impact of failing to pass a July 1st effective date.”

Oral arguments on the matter are scheduled for noon on June 29, although the parties are currently discussing next steps, the Attorney General said in a statement.

Meanwhile, the budget, HB 69, can now go to the governor’s desk, and he has said he will review it. He has signaled he will sign it so the government doesn’t shut down. The governor has a few bad choices:

  • Sign a budget that has a $525 Permanent Fund dividend. Veto whatever programs seem excessive.
  • Veto the dividend portion to zero and call the Legislature back into special session (he can do so no earlier than July 28) to either follow the statute or fix the statute, so Alaskans get a bigger dividend.
  • Veto the $525 dividend to zero, and launch a citizen initiative that would call for a Constitutional Convention to put the formula in the Constitution.

Whatever the governor decides, it’s sure to play into the next election cycle. The governor faces reelection in 2022, if he chooses to run.

On the Must Read Alaska Show on Monday, Rep. Ben Carpenter of District 29-Nikiski, said that pressure from the business community had an effect on many members of the Republican minority to vote for the budget, even with the lack of a fiscal plan. He said that pressure appeared to be effective.

Carpenter said that the “Sense of the House” agreement to return to Juneau in August to develop a fiscal plan is a document that was based on the honor system, and there is no guarantee the House Majority will deal in good faith in August. Even during Monday’s convening of the House, the Democrat majority tried many maneuvers to trick the Republicans into voting for something they had not agreed to during negotiations.

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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

  • I thought they were coming back in August to ‘fix’ the dividend?
    If the governor has any backbone he will veto the whole budget. And to heck with a government shutdown.

  • Time for Dunleavy to stand tall and use the power of the veto.

  • The House did not ‘avert’ anything they just deepened the mess they have already made of the entire session..!!!

  • Republicans capitulated fully, as they always do. Don’t trust the democrats or RINOs to live up to the spirit of the “sense of the house” document. The state Republican Party needs to do a much better job of vetting candidates and call the RINOs out for what they are. It’s embarrassing for republicans to win a majority in the elections and then have several turncoats join with the democrats to preserve the bloated gravy train.

  • Veto the budget and let the idiots come back and do their job! This is pure theft.

  • Steve-O,

    Special sessions gave the elected officials a bankroll to do whatever they wanted. It will be services that are offered by the state that would be affected. Speaker Stutes is Dunleavy’s new bully.

  • Veto everything. Every. Damn. Thing.

    If Dunleavy doesn’t. he should resign.

  • 100% spot on. The Republican Party leadership in the state is doing a lack-luster job of vetting the candidates. For starters, Merrick needs to go… and so does Stutes.

    For the House to provide a $525.00 PFD after the value of the Permanent Fund has grown by $20 Billion over the last two years is tantamount to theft.

  • No need for a citizen’s initiative on a constitutional convention. It will be on the ballot next election as per the state constitution. All we have to do is vote YES!

    • How’s that? It comes up automatically?

  • How bout we launch a citizen initiative to run em all out of town !!

  • Let’s avert every last one of them. It’s a great big dysfunctional family which has no respect for the voters, only the special interests that keep them in power. With a few exceptions, I detest the bunch, a den of thieves.

  • It’s entirely two-faced of the so-called business community to put pressure on the House Republicans to fold. That is the very same mentality that wasted $20 billion in one-time savings over the past several years. If no one has a stomach for holding firm then we will now spend through the Permanent Fund in short order. We saw a governor that came to Juneau saying he would cut the budget; he tried and then lost his courage. Now we have the business community – CofC, RDC, AOGA, AGC, etc. – demanding business as usual and forcing the one remaining common sense advocates to fold. We’re screwed, and we will get what we deserve. I hope this governor at least has the sack to wipe out the Public Broadcasting subsidy.

  • Pull out that red pen, Governor. We put you into office in 2018 to stand up to these ignoramus’s. Go with the full PFD and you will be re-elected in 2022, without a real threat of recall. In post-Covid, the electorate will remember the candidate who protected the statutory formula.

  • I no longer have a vested interest in the PF. I no longer care if ANWR is closed. I no longer care if TAPS shuts down. I only care that something happens so the special interests get nothing also.

  • So the communists got everything they want, but in exchange the Republicans got… a nonbinding promise to study something, maybe, in the future. We need to completely dismantle the Alaska GOP and stop voting for these pathetic RINOs

  • $525? That’s less than $400 million, collectively, out of $81 billion? That’s insult to injury.

  • I still say, veto the whole bill and yes, I’m still blaming the democrats.
    Until we get a FULL PFD

  • Wow, the legislature needs to be relocated to Southcentral so we can keep in touch with the fools.

  • Josephdj, I am with you brother, a scorched earth policy is in order. Why? Because it may be the only way to rid ourselves of the parasitic class.

  • If they only give us $525 of the PFD can we put on our tax returns the State taxed us over $3,000 this year? So sick of all the spending and no actual cuts coming to fruition. They only threaten to make cuts at the last hour creating mass fear mongering and then just keep spending.

  • I’ve been fighting against the EnviroNazis for decades. Now I wouldn’t care if they manage to turn all of Alaska into a theme park. My heart simply can’t deal with the aggravation anymore.
    We had a dream, and it’s owned by special interests now.

  • Dunleavy: Veto it and fix the PFD permanently! Enough of this crap, be done with it now so we are not constantly going through this idiocy (theft) every single year. The legislators always pander to special interest groups and literally ignore who they truly work for, us, the people of the state of Alaska. You have to go this route.

  • What do the “words” say? What did they mean when they were written? They mean the same as when written. Constitions do not morph around. What happened when the law was laid down? A CONVENTION? are you having a constitutional convention today? When was it announced. When you have a constitutional convention you are creating a new government and has to be approved by congress. Is that what you are doing today creating a new world order government? If you are wouldn’t it ethical to tell the perhaps oppositional free peeps? Why keep it a damned secret? OH. That’s not what you are doing forming a new, creating a new government? Then, shouldn’t you be obeying, following the existing words? If you don’t to do so or are too socially oppositional are you incorrigible enough to accept a public stipend for this work?

  • OK Governor, it is your turn. Stand tall for Alaska as you promised when we all elected you. Yes that means the first step is to get off your knees and straighten your backbone and veto this entire mess of a budget bill. Let the State shut down if necessary. Call them back into special session and do the job we elected you to do. If you don’t have the courage to do what is right for Alaska, you could always resign and run home with your tail tucked between your legs.

    The choice is yours. Do the right thing.

  • So the Legislature gets about $9,000 in per diem per member for essentially doing nothing in the extended session & the Alaskan public gets a $525 PFD. Talk about entitled little punks!

  • When WE have a Constitutional Convention and Congress approves it before and after they will need to be in session. Are they now, guys? When WE have a constitutional convention we may have it wherever we please, in the railyard in Portage in February, or Fairbanks in February, or Seward in April. And when we do, the current “representatives” and “senators” may NOT be invited as our representatives. We may have anyone we please. Perhaps you nor Juneau no longer please us anymore. Do not make assumptions you are the ones participating in the convention. The legislature and the convention may contain completely different names. That is OUR right to decide and you may not presumptuously deprive, we the people, of this choice.

  • This is a slap in the face. Most of the State employees are working from home and getting away with crap! Bring them back into the office and give us a big PFD! This money helps people in the winter time. Oh but you guys need it more in your pocket. Lets buy more computers, cars laptops and have people to continue to work from home and never get stuff done. This is called entitlement!

  • Right now we have two states. We should formalize it. We have state of Alaska and Railroad Alaska, the bed of ARRC which they claim is a private sovereign parcel in the waters of the United States impervious and sacrosanct above the transportation needs of all the other Alaska. That needs to be declared as the second state within Alaska the corporate state of Alaska Corporation for their otherwise intractable rapacious real estate behavior to be “true” or valid and lawful. So let’s have this convention tomorrow and add this weighty matter to settle constitutionally. We wouldn’t want to be remiss or deprive the Rothchild’s of their straightforward and public gifts from the freemen of the United States living in Alaska. Remember our gifts of right of way to the rothchilds must be declared as a gift and are a taxable event. We look forward to the immediate convention to include this sizable, weighty shard.

  • Only slightly OT. Constitutions should only be opened for big beef not little beefs like “Does ninety days mean 90 days”. The Federal Railrod Authority is another (surprise, surprise) “agency” registered in pertinent part abroad (London? Like the “others”) that really is a private monarchical interest coercing and organizing and oppressing and ekeing out our means of life. So, quite rightly, representatives of the American people should wrestle this one to the mat and prevail for the US Constitution to in fact prevail at all anywhere.

  • While considering this piece let’s do the obvious and slice Alaska into two more states North Alaska and South Alaska. The railroad should love that. North Railroad Alaska and South Railroad Alaska. Each segments would have two more senators to support your selfish expensive whims instead of half a senator with two pots of money to gain. It seems like a good idea AND we could make government even bigger! YAY. You guys are loafing. You didn’t think of it. It’s quite workable actually.

  • It’s funny to watch the leftists on here decry any citizens wanting a full PFD, saying it needs to be preserved for the state, when in reality the people really pushing the PFD be seized are your big government contractors (Lynden, AK Air, GCI, et al) and “non” profits, and “foundations” which are just tax and asset shelter schemes that funnel money to a select few (namely one) family. So- it could be no clearer: a vote against a full PFD is a vote for big business and against the Alaskan family. Either they are naive or just plain liars, but the Left works for big businesses and wealthy elites. That’s it.

    • How did reps from bush Alaska vote on this? Are they in favor of budget cuts and a normal PFD or PFD cuts and the existing budget?

  • Ever since I moved here in 2016, the PFD has done nothing but shrink. I didn’t move here because of it, but it was a nice bonus on top of no income nor sales tax.

    I don’t believe Dunleavy will veto it. He talks a tough game, but the man seems to be folding like a lawn chair.

  • Not sure where to put this but; Governor please redline the DNR Department except for the Recorder’s functions and a Commissioner and secretary. They don’t “do” anything anyway and won’t be missed. President Trump and the cabal would be surprised to learn there is really very little that is done in support of purported extraction activities or anything else. If they do anything it’s not lawful like aggregating possible values of private read “native” resources guesstimates. That’s all they are and their maps are upside down and backwards. Little to support here regardless of good intentions. Rot is bad.

  • Bryce Edgmon must be thrilled that he screwed over every native and constituent in his region.
    Nice going.

    • Edgmon is the Mike Madigan of Alaska. Always manages to stay in power, master of corrupt deals, and doesn’t care at all about We The People

  • Sucks to be in the minority. Elections have consequences.

  • I got an email yesterday from the group fighting the “Recall Dunleavy”, asking me to donate to them.
    I replied and told them that I voted for him, but to get back to me when he begins to stand up to the lying thieving psychopaths in our legislature, and refuses to sign any budget submitted to him by them that does not include a full statutory PFD……

  • The largest principle in the PFD ever and you can thank Dunleavy and the legislative body for the SB76 BS that was shoved up Alaskans butt in the last session in order to recalculate how the payment is to be calculated with only one legislator opposing it (Reinbold) for the THEFT of the PFD!!! Dunleavy has turned it into his personal SLUSH FUND along with Micciche, Hughes and all the rest that voted for the bill you just have to research who signed the bill to see the crooks! Dunleavy has lied from the beginning and fallowed in Walkers foot steps. They got theirs in the $8700. 00 raise L.O.L………..

    Yesterday a disabled Marine was denied a part of his monthly disability by the VA who called him and stated to him the COVID 19 Pandemic was officially over and because of it he was now getting a reduction of $400.00 a month in his disability payments!!! So now that it has been officially declared OVER ALL the governor’s and former mayors “BS” is officially over !!!!

  • Now is the time to take control of the State Legislature continually over-spending!
    State Government is entirely too large!

  • Would you negotiate with terrorists…? Then why negotiate with democrats..?

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