Legislative leadership declines Wasilla special session - Must Read Alaska
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Legislative leadership declines Wasilla special session

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The Alaska Legislature announced today it will convene in Juneau on July 8 for the second special session, with the majority of meetings to be held in Anchorage.

“For Legislative leaders to try and pull an end run without the proper votes is a personal attack against Mat-Su, and, that is unacceptable,” said Rep. Colleen Sullivan-Leonard, of Wasilla, House District 7.

House Speaker Bryce Edgmon, D-U-Dillingham, and Senate President Cathy Giessel, R-Anchorage, released the following statement:

“Funding the 2019 Permanent Fund dividend is critical to Alaskans. However, the long-term issues about the sustainability and future of the Permanent Fund must also be addressed. Unfortunately, the Governor’s special session proclamation restricts discussion solely to the amount of this year’s PFD.

“Importantly, the Governor’s proclamation also fails to include the Fiscal Year 2020 capital budget. If the capital budget is not finalized in July, Alaska’s private sector industries could be devastated by forfeiting nearly $1 billion in federal highway and aviation projects because required state matching dollars were not provided.

“For the reasons outlined, we believe the Legislature should call itself into session. We intend to hold floor sessions in Juneau, the seat of government established in the Alaska Constitution, and hold most committee hearings in the Anchorage Legislative Information Office.

“This approach would save hundreds of thousands of dollars and provide in-person access to Alaskans on the road system, while also utilizing facilities designed for legislative proceedings and providing Alaskans who are unable to attend in person the ability to participate and follow along as lawmakers consider these crucial issues.

“Although we are one vote short of the forty vote threshold to call ourselves into our own special session agenda, the majority of legislators in both bodies considers it our right to determine the location and venue best equipped to conduct business on the Governor’s special session call, while providing the most access to as many Alaskans possible.

“We respectfully urge the Governor to add to his call the capital budget and long-term issues relating to the future of the Permanent Fund.”

Gov. Michael Dunleavy issued this statement:

“Our focus has been on bringing the people and legislature together on the PFD. But instead of convening in Wasilla, legislative leadership is attempting to retreat back to Juneau. This move to negate the special session in Wasilla has no legal basis. A governor is clearly empowered to call a special session in a location of their choosing (AS 24.05.100). The Senate President and Speaker of the House admit they lack the votes to change the venue or call a special session of their own, yet they are committed to thwarting the law and the voice of the Alaskan people. This is all part of why Alaskans have lost trust in their lawmakers. How can we with a straight face expect people to follow the law when the legislative leadership ignores, breaks, and skirts the law at every turn?”

Earlier today, legislators from Wasilla penned a warm welcome to the Legislature to Wasilla. Read that story here:

Wasilla special session is going to cost a bit more

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Written by

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

  • Sounds like the dim/socialists are afraid to hold their “meetings” anywhere that their constituents have convenient access. Wouldn’t you know it? Now, they say they “must” work on the budget also. Don’t forget, they spent the entire regular session trying to derail Governor Dunleavy’s every move, instead of doing their job. What a bunch of hypocrite, do nothing fools. They must really think all Alaskans are stupid enough to fall for their bullsh-t.

    • Mr. Colder: What’s with the constant invocation of “dim/soclialists?” Is that something like dim sum?

      Actually, the bipartisan coalitions in both the House and the Senate did their job by passing an operating budget. Nothing hyupocritical about that and they managed to cut over $200M from the operating budget.
      There is no genuinely objective evidence to say that they tried to “derail Governor Dunleavy’s move…”. The Alaska Constitution calls for a clear seperation of powers. The legislature, as a seperate and independent branch of government has certain powers which they exercised. There was discussion between the governor and the legislature on what to address and how to deal with appropriations and other legal issues. Governor Dunleavy has an opportunity to reduce or veto the operating budget, according to the Alaska Constitution.
      I hope our Governor doesn’t veto or reduce the $9.4B appropriation the legislature made by transferring the funds from the Earnings Reserve Account into the Permanent Fund corpus. That transfer is great for all Alaskans forever as it builds our trust fund.

      • You are full of BS Joe. The PFD is not to be used for the State Operating budget. Its time the residents of Alaska are saying enough is enough and should start taken legal actions to stop the money grabbing special interest legislators

        • Where did I say the PFD should be used for the operating budget?

        • I am a life long alaskan of 45 years and was here when the pfd was established. This money was set aside for the residents of Alaska. It belongs to the people of Alaska and it needs to be paid to us! Enough of this beurocratic missuse of our money!

      • Good points Joe. Anchorage is closer to more people than the raucus unruly crowds in the Mat-Su. The LIO in Anchorage is equipped for the session and while Dunleavy was elected by a majority (51%) the legislature represents all of Alaska not Pennsylvania’s Dunleavy.

        • Pennsylvania’s Dunleavy? What the hell does that mean? Most Alaskans came from somewhere else. He’s only been here three plus decades – not good enough for you?

        • I read, “the raucus [sic] unruly crowds in the Mat-Su.” Is that phrase the same as Ben’s moniker, “Valley Trash”? Where have those 15 years gone?

    • 1.8 million to convene in Wasilla as opposed to staying in Juneau is good capitalism, IMO.

  • So which is it?
    1. Legislators like Juneau because it is a picturesque Capitol city? Or,
    2. Legislators like Juneau because they can HIDE from their constituency during the session?

    • Niether.

      It’s more efficient and cheaper.

      Most of the proceedings will be in Anchorage. How is that hiding from anyone????????????????

      They should hold a hearing in Fairbanks, in addition to ANC

      • BS! How can it be cheaper when there is no need for Per Diem and the School in Wasilla is Free! You are just a disinformation agent for the RINOs or Demoncrats spreading Propaganda! The Legislature has a legal obligation to gavel in where the Governor calls them into special session. This is just one more law these Lawless Legislators choose to willing break! I say they need to be impeached through a special election post haste!

  • The deal here is that the Legislature will gavel into special session in Juneau and expand the call of the session to include how to deal with the allocation of funds generated by the Permanent Fund and not just fiddle around with the PFD for this year.

    The legislative leaders indicated they will gavel into a new special session and then hold most of the proceedings related to the Permanent Fund earnings issue, including the PFD, in Anchorage.

    Following this path makes sense. The expansion of the special session is good for Alaskans because the legislature and the governor will have a chance to deal with the annual PFD fight once and forever by putting the allocation of Permanent Fund earnings issue into a resolution that might lead to a constitutional convention.

    We need to put the Permanent Fund earning allocation issue into the Alaska Constitution and the only way to do this is pass a resolution that puts the allocation formula on the 2010 ballot.

    Personally, I favor a split of the Permanent Fund earnings based on the tried and true statute that worked so well for nearly 4 decades.

    The meetings in July in Anchorage will give many Alaskans a full opportunity to tell the legislature their views on how the Permanent Fund earnings should split. The legislature can also deal with funding the PFD for this year.

    Starting the new special session in Juneau for a day or two and then shifting to Anchorage will save money according to the Legislative Affairs agency. And everyone who lives in the Valley will have a full opportunity to make their views about the PFD and amending Alaska’s Constitution so we can protect the PFD forever.

    This was an adult move by the legislature and avoids the emotional political theater of having the legislature meet in a junior high school.

    Get ready to testify and make your views on the the PFD and protecting the PFD in the Alaska Constitution known when the legislature convenes in Anchorage this July. And while they are meeting outside of Juneau, why not have one field hearing in Fairbanks? There’s more to Alaska than Anchorage, Juneau or the Valley.

    Kudos to the Senate President and the Speaker of the House for expanding the call for the next special session so we can deal with all the outstanding Permanent Fund issues and not just how to pay a full PFD this year. And holding session in Anchorage this July on this matter of constitutional significance is a good move worthy of support by every Alaskan.

    • Joe,
      Why don’t you just go hold their hands and wipe their noses (or other parts) while you’re at it. This is nothing more than another attempt to derail everything Governor Dunleavy proposes. You can be sure, if they meet in Juneau first, they’ll try to finish stealing the PFD and then move the rest of the “unfinished business” to Anchorage. Most likely, there will be insufficient space to “accommodate” irate constituents there. Even if there is, they would say “the PFD issue” was settled at their meeting in Juneau. Bunch of double talk BS and you’re trying to justify it. Get a grip. Everyone is not stupid, as they, and apparently you, must think. Saving money, my a_s. A blatant attempt to discredit the Governor and do a tremendous disservice to Alaskans. Period! How much does it cost to shuttle all of them to and from Juneau? Forgot that, did you?

      • Hiding from their constituents. And this is nothing new. This has been going on for 5 decades. Legislators who thought they were capable of holding off angry constituents, but were instead stunned by defeat, is nothing new. Most recently: Paul Seaton. Pete Kelley. There have been dozens and dozens more. All in the political graveyard now.

    • “Anchorage Legislative Info Ofc is on the 1st floor of the Wells Fargo Building at 1500 W. Benson Blvd., on the corner of Minnesota and Benson. Parking permits are not needed to park in our lot for Legislative business. Hours M-F 8:00 am – 5:00 pm”

      How much parking is available in that lot, or nearby? How many citizens can fit into this office space? How easy is it to get through normal Anchorage traffic, on weekdays (& including the influx of tourists) in July? You say “Everyone who lives in the Valley will have a full opportunity to make their views …(known).”

      And you really believe this ?

  • 1) Apparently the location is very important, otherwise why the controversy over the location?
    2) It is indisputable that the outcomes from Juneau are at best substandard.

    How could anyone who cares about the State of Alaska want the Legislature to meet in Juneau?

  • I encourage my Senator and Representative (Shower and Eastman) to NOT go to Juneau and to appear on July 8th in Wasilla.

    • Start your efforts right here at MRAK, Mongo. Brilliant!

  • Joe, you are not being genuine. Save it. We aren’t splitting atoms here. Please stop trying to justify and explain it. Excuses excuses excuses. We aren’t stupid. We know exactly what’s going on here. I’m pretty sure you do to.

    • What’s going on is an effort by the legislature to deal with the PFD issue this year. I support a full PFD and so do a majority of Alaskans. The legislature also needs to pass a capital budget this year. Most Alaskans support having a capital budget, including me. The capital budget wasn’t part of the Governor’s call so the legislature needs to deal with this soon. And the legislature needs to address the issue of putting the allocation of Permanent Fund earnings (including the PFD), into the Alaska Constitution. I support a constitutional amendment that keeps the current statutory allocation. So do most Alaskans. Dealing with these issues in a junior high school is not the best idea, although having a hearing in The Valley makes sense to me. But in the end, holding most of the legislative special sessions in Anchorage makes a lot of sense for the majority of our elected officials and the citizens of this state. This is about getting the job done, including dealing with the PFD this year and amending the constitution to fix the allocation of Permanent Fund earnings so we don’t have to deal with this topic every year. The citizens of Alaska need certainty about the Permanent Fund earnings. Most adults in the legislature would like the certainty that goes with a constitutional formula. And the trustees and staff at the Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation would also like the certainty that goes with having a constitutional formula that allows for steady, predictable investments.
      None of this is about derailing Governor Dunleavy’s agenda or ignoring the will of the people. The chore here is to find solutions that the legislature and the governor agree on, a task that is difficult but doable. It will help all of our elected pols if the citizens come up with thoughtful solutions instead of engaging in goofball hysterical conduct.

  • Meet in Wasilla on July 8th or face a recall or voted out of office. We can vote people in that have the good of the Alaska people as their only driving factor!

  • I thought we were past the days of our legislators pulling sessions while pulling the plug on the cameras so we can’t play along! Me thinks me smells several rats in Juneau! Grow up ya’ll! ELECTION SEASON IS COMING AND YOU ALL ARE GOING HOME!! You are so out of touch with the Alaskans who put you in in good faith! The PFD when spent by us GOES INTO THE ALASKA ECONOMY! What part of that don’t you understand? You DONT speak for me so please stop saying that you do or that you know what I want, you don’t in any shape or form. We’ve voted at least 3 times to relocate the legislature out of Juneau, which I might add would save the state big money and contrary to your argument Juneau would collapse without you all, it wouldn’t! Just like Sitka and other coastal tourist places, it would survive nicely. Our state government should be on a road system and be accessible to the general public not just the elite few. YOU’RE OUT OF TOUCH ON YOUR CAMPAIGN PROMISES.
    THIS pull out is no big surprise but rather predictable. If ya can’t stand the heat get out of the kitchen! Don’t get too comfortable, there’s a big move in your future!

    • Add another cliche or two to this rant.

  • Ummmmm they are offering to meet in Anchorage, which is more populous, well equipped, and closer to more people than Wasilla

  • How would one start a ballot measure to end legislative per diem?

  • ON a sugar high Mongo? Keep it based on facts and reality.

  • Do not forget that Alaskans voted 3 times to move the capitol out of Juneau! Why were our votes ignored? Perhaps transparency is unwanted by many of our corrupt legislators. Keep track of how our legislative branch of the government vote and watch for the party switchers – it usually means they are up to no good.

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