Monday, October 2, 2023
HomePoliticsLegislature approves paying per diem for special session - retroactively

Legislature approves paying per diem for special session – retroactively

“I move that Legislative Council authorize per diem payments retroactive to May 16, 1019, for the days in which members were physically present in Juneau for the first special session of the 31st Alaska State Legislature.” — Rep. Louise Stutes, making a motion to Legislative Council.

And so, the Alaska Legislature has decided to pay itself retroactively for the time it has spent over the past 30 days in Juneau.

As it was explained by a Megan Wallace, director of Legal Services, Alaska Statute says that legislators are not entitled to per diem payments after the 121st day until the first day that the Legislature passes a fully funded operating budget.

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“It does not prevent this body from taking action to provide retroactive payments. The language says it is not to be paid until after the budget is passed,” Wallace explained. Wiggle room, in other words.

Rep. Tammie Wilson said she could not support it: “I know what the intent of the legislation was…It not ambiguous in my mind.”

Sen. Bert Stedman argued that many younger members of the Legislature have families and can’t afford to cover the costs of staying in Juneau.

All members voted in favor of it except Rep. Wilson of North Pole and Rep. DeLena Johnson of Palmer.

One insider in the Capitol observed that the Legislature just awarded itself between $6,000 and $9,000 per diem but a majority of them voted against a full statutorily determined Permanent Fund dividend of $3,000 for Alaskans.

Per diem is calculated differently at different times of year. The Legislature uses the federal per diem rate, which is higher between May and October in Juneau.

Suzanne Downing
Suzanne Downing
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.


  1. How can they get paid? They accomplished nothing. In the real world, they would have been fired for not accomplishing what they were put in place to do. Oh, I forgot we are dealing with, mostly Dems and RINO’s who are part of the elite and know more than the citizens of the state..

  2. I think they all should be housed in a shut down AMHS ferry tied to the dock and get meals from the ship’s galley…but that’s just me

      • I heard this suggestion the first time from a AMHS worker that was telling my how poorly things were managed on the ferries in SE Alaska…I must say, even I was a bit taken back by some of the things he said that they were doing that we never hear about…

        • Good question, Kemosabee. We know they can jump. Whether they can actually swim…..another matter. Metaphorically speaking, rats and legislators have a few common denominators: they smell free food and congregate, usually at night, when they can steal the food without being caught. They fight amongst each other when too many are in the same room. They will turn on each other if provoked. They are dirty, they smell and they carry disease. Lastly, they aren’t that smart. Especially when traps have been set and baited. The lure of more food is too painful to avoid and they end up going out with a twisted neck..
          ….into the garbage.

  3. “Sen. Bert Stedman argued that many younger members of the Legislature have families and can’t afford to cover the costs of staying in Juneau.”

    What about voting in favor of a full PFD EVERY YEAR GOING FORWARD and arguing the fact that there’s families and young families coming up that can’t afford to cover the costs of living in any town in Alaska –

    Absolutely disgusting to vote against the people and vote for yourselves

  4. These people are out of control, corrupt (not all of them ~ but it’s clear who the worst of them, are.) They need to be squashed – AND VOTED OUT and the next opportunity! How long, are we, the voters / citizens of Alaska, going to put up with their corruption and antics??

    • They all voted for the retroactive per diem payment except two.They voted against the full 3000.00 PFD .They all been feeding us cow to see one of them refusing the retro pay

      • They didn’t all vote against the full PFD – the reps from my district are with the 15 who voted FOR it. I wish the entire state of Alaska could vote for every single representative ~ but there is nothing people outside the districts of the democrats/RINOs can do but hope their voters see the light by next election!

  5. SEND THEM TO WASILLA,,,, THIS SHOULD BE EXCELLENT TO SEE THEM OUT OF THEIR WOMB IN JUNEAU, Selling your word and oath is easy when you are sheltered from your constituents, Was betrayal worth it? Kudos Governor Dunleavy,,,

  6. “To compel people to furnish funds for the propagation of ideas they disbelieve and abhor is sinful and tyrannical”. Thomas Jefferson. These dims & rinos care not a whit for the funds of Alaskans, except those funds they can stuff in their pockets, give to their followers and special interests, and constantly demand more for themselves. To save some per diem and much travel expense, move the entire legislative process to Anchorage (already offices there) or Wasilla. $275 per day per diem, plus paid transportation to and from Juneau. That’s pretty handsome, especially when you stack their “salary” on top of it. For what? Obstruction of government? Seeing who can tell the biggest “whopper” to constituents? Who can figure out the newest way to screw over the people that sent them there? Unbelievable. Neglect their duty until no time remains for it, then ” milk the public cow” to pay for their negligence. With the newest special session and the new vote to pay themselves more per diem, against the constitution, who needs a job?. The average constituent can’t afford to shuttle forth and back to Juneau to be present with an opinion, yet we must pay for these fools to do so. No wonder they want to steal the PFD.
    “Last year we said, ‘things can’t go on like this’, and they didn’t. They got worse”. Will Rogers. I think he was seeing the future of Alaskan (and American) “politics”.
    Remember these shenanigans next election, Alaskans, remember. The antics by the dims and rinos aren’t politics. They’re the antithesis of politics. Malfeasance is an appropriate word.

  7. We’ve all been watching this slow-motion train wreck since “republican” Gary Knopp unleashed this Juneau liberal beast.

    How is it even possible that Alaska is now being represented by people that couldn’t even cut a cord of wood by themselves?

    It’s time for our great new governor to fire up the bulldozer and plow them all to Wasilla.

    Let them feel the heat from their constituents for once.

    p.s.: Make sure to cut off the A/C wherever they end up holding court.

  8. 1. No pay after the regular session.

    2. Stop calling it a “special session”. They are all too common, and there is nothing special about them.

  9. Hey Bert if you do not produce anything you should not be paid. Period. This retroactive Pay BS is why the Legislature should be moved to Wasilla. I promise I will be in Wasilla.
    The problem with the PFD arguments is simple.
    Up until four years ago PFD s we’re fully funded.
    New Governor Walkie Talkie came along and accepted Obamacare.
    Former Governor Parnell warned of the long term economic impact of Obama Medicaid on the Alaska budget.
    Today fully funding the PFD will put the State s financial house into a imbalance, as claimed by Anti PFDers.
    Why should any Alaskan Trust elected officials when the PFD is tied to a budget that can be inflated by one individual. What is to say that a monsters budget item like Medicad could not be added in the future to the Alaska budget eliminating the PFD entirely.
    Nobody is talking about this. What about eliminating these Pre Walkie Talkie actions on Obama Care. What would the Budget today and future Budgets look like.
    I have asked my locale Politicians these questions. They did not have an answer other than “ Man you have really thought this through”.
    I am not a Rocket Scientist.

  10. Stupid question: If they have not passed a budget, and the state is so broke that they have to steal again from us……where is this money coming from for the back pay?

  11. We the citizens of this state are told we are greed, selfish and foolish to demand a FULL AND RETRO PFD that we can’t have a vote of the people in the issue because per Kenai radio host Jason & (school teacher and union rep) we the people learn the can vote for money that is the end of DEMOCRACY. So he is against the citizens having a day via a vote per the Governor’s request on the PFD.

    One we are not a democracy ….
    Yet, our reps vote to better themselves and we are not able to do anything but talk and write about it and the only action is to wait to term them out at the polls after they cash their checks.

    They voted not to get money to look good then they stab us in the wallet. Far too many do NOT represent us they resent us…. They have viewed themselves a leaders leading US and that is a big part of the problem. They are not to be leaders they were elected to be our public SERVANT.

  12. Why should they get paid for the special session when they conducted no business for a long period of time at the beginning of the regular session while our so called representatives were boycotting the session? Sounds to me like they owe us back pay for not doing their jobs!

  13. So, We should all tell our bosses that we should be paid extra if we goof off and don’t do our jobs? Let me know how that works out! They need to be looked at very critically when they run for re-election. This time around they need to be moved to Wasilla and sleep in the gym until they get off of their collective a**es and do what we paid them for!

  14. Move them all into close quarters at the middle school, then lock them in. Slip a few big macs through the service door. Throw in a few rolls of toilet paper. No cell phones. Tell them they can’t come out until the PFD issue is resolved at $3K, or more. Then, bus them to API.

  15. Paid for not doing their jobs…? Naaa.. No per diem, no extra pay. better idea- because they have not fulfilled their obligation to their employers (people of Alaska), issue bench warrants for their arrest, put them in a warehouse and one porta-potty. give them pens and legal pads and tell them they can’t leave until they have a budget hammered out.

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