Mat-Su Delegation says moving special session illegal - Must Read Alaska
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Tuesday, August 20, 2019
HomePoliticsMat-Su Delegation says moving special session illegal

Mat-Su Delegation says moving special session illegal

With the presiding officers of the House and Senate determined to not bring the second special session of the Legislature to Wasilla, the Mat-Su delegation has called foul, saying that their leadership is now violating the law.

“I find it fascinating that legislative leaders would rather visit a courtroom than visit the Mat-Su,” said Sen. Shelley Hughes, co-chair of the delegation.

The Republican-led Senate, which was considered a fragile majority to begin with, appears to be fracturing over the issue.

Because five months of legislating in Juneau has failed, the Mat-Su delegation wrote in a statement, the governor’s choice of a Wasilla-based special session should be given a chance.

Attempts to deny affordable access to more than a half million Alaskans comes with great risk of litigation, the group wrote.

“Wasilla is a friendly community that’s been busy in recent weeks preparing to welcome the legislature. An unlawful attempt to subvert the legally determined location is beyond troubling,” said Rep. ColleenSullivan-Leonard, delegation co-chair.

“The Constitution requires a 2/3 agreement (40 votes) in a poll of the joint House and Senate for the legislature to call itself back into a special session, and statutes require that same poll to determine the location. The presiding officers had only 39 votes to call the legislature into its own special session in Juneau. The statutes clearly state that when the governor issues the call for a special session, the governor determines the location,” the delegation wrote in a statement.

Gov. Michael Dunleavy called the second special session to Wasilla for July 8. He suggested the Legislature use Wasilla Middle School.

The Legislature convened, as required by law, on Jan. 15, but had not completed its work in the 90 days mandated by statute, or the 121 days mandated by the Constitution.

The Legislature also blew through the 30-day special session, passing an operating budget for the state in the 11th hour, and then awarded itself back-pay per diem for the time spent in Juneau, which was also violating a law it passed in 2018.

[Read: Legislative leadership says ‘no thanks’ to Wasilla special session]

The governor may have called the Legislature into special session in Wasilla, but by law he cannot sue the Legislature. Yet, as the statement from the Mat-Su delegation indicates, someone else may.

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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 still believe API is the best location to put these derelects into special session. Group therapy and lockdown session. Make it special! Play dough and fingerpainting in the morning. Nap time from 12 to 2pm. Ring around the rosey and playground in the late afternoon. My own Kindergartner has more common sense.

    • It would be better to send them to the Palmer Correctional facility.

  • Outstanding, Senator Hughes! About time someone stood their/our ground against the misdeeds and prevarications of the “legislative majority”. I’m very proud of you and the delegation actually standing up for Alaskans. Count on my and many thousands of others for support of your acts of conscientious political policy. That policy has been sorely missed by Alaskans and I’m sure will be rewarded come next elections.

  • All Legislators who respect the Rule of Law MUST Boycott this illegal Session!!!! The Governor should consider using armed Troopers to bring these outlaws into session in Wasilla.

    • I am confused by your statement. On one hand you say they must boycott to respect the law. On the other hand you say the gov should order the outlaws into session.

  • The legislature produces such outstanding results from Juneau. So much so that I imagine 100% of lobbyists would like to see all sessions in Juneau.

  • The Legislators have not broken the law until they don’t show up in Wasilla on time. They are just bluffing the Governor over the budget.
    My bet is they will show up to Wasilla on time, so they are not labeled in the next election as lawbreakers.

  • If these people do not wish to serve the people they should resign effective immediately. Why you would run for elected public office but show such disdain for the public is beyond me. The vast majority of our elected representatives should resign or be recalled.

  • It is now time for the governor and Mat-Su delegation to play hardball. You know what must be done. This has been building since the session began. It is time to find out who are leaders and who are followers.

  • What a bunch of punks. Chicken sh*t punks that can’t do their jobs. The only way they can continue to NOT do their jobs is under the security blanket of Juneau where live humans can’t readily access them. Please God don’t let the people have voters amnesia next election cycle and re-elect these bozos. Please everyone…remember all the names and faces.

  • Why on earth should the SS be held in Muleshoe TX when it’s always been ANC or JNU?

  • Phil, if this was the summer of 2020….maybe. But the next election is 16 months out, and they are counting on you to forget by then.

  • Time to vote you out I will do my best to do just that.

  • If moving the special session is illegal, but it happens anyway, Senator Hughes and Representative Sullivan-Leonard should advise the IRS that certain legislators may have intentionally claimed tax-free per diem under fraudulent circumstances.
    .
    Few legislators seem to care much about state law, but it might be fun to watch what happens if they intentionally violate federal tax law.

  • I love the Mat_Su delegation that are opining their well seasoned jurisprudence.

  • So are they going to use the same logic to try and over-ride Dunleavy’s veto? They need 40 not 39….

  • AS 24.05.100 (b) A special session may be held at any location in the state. If a special session called under (a)(1) of this section (by Governor’s proclamation) is to be convened at a location other than at the capital, the governor shall designate the location in the proclamation. Governor Dunleavy did this.

    Seems pretty clear to me. If Edgmon, Giessel and their cabal can’t muster the 40 votes to call their own special session elsewhere, the fireworks should commence in Wasilla on 8 July. Anything else would constitute an illegal meeting, and any legislation decided in this illegal meeting would be invalid.

    Follow the law or resign!

  • Why can’t they be charged with “failure to appear”?

    The law requires a man appear in court or face arrest. Why not the same here?

    And on a side note, what more obvious moves do people need to vote a bunch of these people out? This is about as boldly obvious as corruption and circumvention of the will of the people gets.

  • All the Crooks need is one more vote to call themselves in. My bet is they are working on that.

    • Well I’m hoping they are working for one more changing to the other direction…oops…only got 38 votes now…

  • If they convene illegally, would that mean that anything they pass would not be valid? The Governor should simply veto anything produced in this stunt session.

  • Quoting Sen. Shelley Hughes:

    “Unfortunately they would have a quorum without us in Juneau – and could pass bills and change policy whether we are there or not. It takes 21 in House for a quorum and they have 25 that agreed to meet in Juneau. It takes 11 in the Senate for a quorum and there are 14 senators that agreed to meet in Juneau. This is a bad situation all the way around.”

    So we are screwed screwed screwed, with no recourse but the ballot box.

    • At least something would get done!

    • Compel enough to have a quorum at Wasilla. (a majority)

      The other session with 39 votes is not legal.

      “A majority of the membership of each house constitutes a quorum to do business, but a smaller number may adjourn from day to day and may compel attendance of absent members.” Art II, Sec 12

  • It’s beyond amazing that these so-called “representatives” are so afraid of their constituents that they refuse to conduct business anywhere near us. Maybe if they didn’t have such an “us against them” mindset they wouldn’t be afraid to meet where we the people can be heard. Time to get rid of them and elect some true representatives.

  • A bit worrisome, living in a state where observing the rule of law is optional.

    But so many take comfort in knowing it’s acceptable to do as one chooses. Like that spiffy sports car out front? Drive it away! It’s yours. Laws aren’t enforced anymore by legislative action. What’s yours is mine.

    What a wonderful example for new generations where felonies are just a quaint notion.

    Ah well, we elected it now we’re entitled to enjoy it.

    Of course a higher power might, one day, take umbrage. But I’d best watch out lest that thought be a new and enforced “thought crime”. Orwell, it seems, was an optimist.

  • These legislators no longer work for Alaska, or for Alaskans. They are a bunch of self-important thugs and meglamaniacs. Throw out all of them and start over. DISGUSTING!

    • Geissel Gotta Go!!!!

  • We have tried to reason with Bryce on 3 occasions. Sadly he doesn’t get it. We will remember this.

  • Does anyone know if there any procedure to remove a sitting speaker or Senate President? Something like a no confidence vote?

    Sen. Giessel and Speaker Edgmon are running on high octane ego.

    I doubt the votes exist to remove but if a Rep. and Senator. (do you hear me Sen. Shower and Rep. Eastman?) publicly floated the idea it is likely this crap will stop. The very ego that is causing this lawlessness and immature behavior would never risk having a public debate on the floor that was centered on their own leadership and failure to follow PFD statutes, Special Session Statutes, and forward funding laws.

    • Might be fun to see what happens if someone advises the IRS that the special session in Juneau is invalid, was known in advance to be invalid, which suggests legislators intend to collect tax-free per diem fraudulently.

  • I was one of those who voted in 1974 to move the capital to Willow. The theatrics going on right now are a perfect example why we need to get the capital out of Juneau and into a centrally located part of the state where the majority of Alaskans can drive to and let our legislators know our feelings and opinions in person. Enough of this hiding in Juneau, which is nothing more than an echo chamber and an isolated and insulated bubble where reality never seems to intrude.

  • Yes Erik I SO agree with you. We voted TWICE to MOVE THE CAPITAL. Why are things so screwed up in our state? There’s the problem! We can’t even have a session outside of Juneau after 120 days of the legislature FAILING to do their job. Send them BACK to Juneau? What a pathetic joke! I’m so disgusted I can hardly contain myself.