Mia Costello: Why I'll be in Wasilla - Must Read Alaska
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Wednesday, October 16, 2019
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Mia Costello: Why I’ll be in Wasilla

After 120 days in the regular session and a 30-day special session in Juneau, the Alaska Legislature still has a lot of work to do.

Gov. Mike Dunleavy called a new special session in Wasilla — but the presiding officers in the House and Senate don’t like the “in Wasilla” part, so they have decided to simply ignore it.

It’s not clear why they have chosen to pick this particular fight with the governor — especially now, with the dividend, capital budget funding and line-item vetoes all hanging in the balance. And it isn’t clear they can do that. It isn’t in the Alaska Constitution, and it isn’t in statute.

There is no question that the governor can call a special session — that’s in the Constitution. And there’s also no question that the governor can specify the location of the call — that’s in statute. It’s very clear — under current law, he can do all that.

So why do the presiding officers believe they can simply decide on their own to hold the session somewhere else? The crux of leadership’s argument is that the Constitution doesn’t explicitly say the governor can specify the location of the session, so the Legislature shouldn’t feel bound to follow that part.

Well, the Constitution also doesn’t explicitly say the governor can say when the session starts. Based on their argument, the Legislature doesn’t have to go into session when he says, any more than where he says. And if he doesn’t have the power to say when and where the session is, he doesn’t really have the power to call the session at all — and that just can’t be right.

That doesn’t mean the Legislature is completely at the governor’s mercy. The Constitution gives the Legislature the ability to call its own session — it just requires 40 votes. The leaders’ problem is that they don’t have those votes. That’s why their attempt to unilaterally move the location of the governor’s session has the appearance of a cynical attempt to ignore rules they don’t like.

I know that some people — voters and legislators — oppose the idea of a special session in Wasilla. I’ve heard all the arguments, pro and con. I’ve heard concerns about inordinate costs and concerns about adequate facilities. These are practical matters we must address, and I’m confident that we can.

Other arguments against having a special session in Wasilla are less legitimate. I’ve heard some legislators express concern that they may not be safe in the midst of Valley residents; I think that’s ridiculous.

Sadly, I have also heard vulgar slurs against Valley residents and disdain for the communities there. Such statements are hateful and hurtful, and are unbecoming of Alaskans.

But legitimate or not, these arguments all miss the point. The governor has the power to specify where and when the session will happen. He has done so.

Only one constitutional call for a special session has been issued, and the governor issued it. It doesn’t matter how we feel about the governor’s call, or Wasilla, or the governor himself. All that matters is that we follow the Constitution and we follow the law.

That’s what I’m going to do. I’ll see you in Wasilla.

Mia Costello is the Senate Majority Leader who represents West Anchorage.

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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 stand with Mia Costello and Governor Michael Dunleavey.

    • Luv this lady, Mia. Courage. Loyalty. Conservative. Right. Go to Wasilla and support our governor. He and your constituents will long remember you for the good that you do.

      • Courage and Loyal, Johnnie but lacking in judgment IMO. Notice the Senate just replaced Mia, as majority leader, with Hoffman.

  • Thx Senator! Why do so many legislators have problems with the law! So much time and resources wasted. Lets get the job done!

  • Makes sense to me. See you in Wasilla!

  • The house leadership has been a mess since Edgmon took the reigns. There has been coverups and false accusations like never before. How many of his flock were involved in sexual harassment and sexual violence under his watch, that he covered for…all while falsely accusing an innocent legislator who he disagreed with? How he is in any leadership position is a shame on our government representatives who elected him into such a position.

    The law is clear, unless and until the legislature has enough votes to call their own special session, they are to follow the law and report as required to where the governor declares the special session and when he calls it. Anything short of that is breaking the law, but that brings us back to a house leader who does not care to follow the law unless it serves his purpose.

    For elected representatives to show such disdain for the people they are elected to represent is beyond the pale. If you dislike the people of this state so much, then please resign your seat and leave this great state.

    • Steve-O, you do realize that Costello is in the Senate and the House leadership has nothing to do with her position.
      My guess is that this is nothing more than a “hail mary” thing for her but that has nothing to do with the House leadership, either.

      • Bill,

        You do realize that the Governor call the Legislature into special session, the Legislature is made up of the House and the Senate. The leadership in the House and in the Senate are defying the Governor and attempting to hold an illegal special session in Juneau. In other words it has everything to do with the leadership in the House and the Senate.

        • You sound as if Legislature defying the governor is something new Steve-O. And further your opinion this is an illegal special session in Juneau is just that-your opinion. I’m sure the leadership is just quaking in their boots over your opinion.

          • It’s not my opinion at all Bill, it’s a state statute. You know what a statute is right Bill?

          • So is the statutory PFD but you know how that shook out, right. I can just hear the conversation: A guy who calls himself “Steve-O on MRAK says your legislative session is illegal.” Why you’ll be able to hear the laughter all the way to Wasilla!

          • Bill,
            For some strange reason you seem to think I am the only one who knows what the statutes says. There are 22 legislators going to the location named by the governor, it is the very reason for this article and others exactly like it. It has nothing to do with me, but I’m honored that you think my comments carry so much weight.

          • Steve-O your comments are a complete joke and carry no weight. Not even Costello refers to any statute but you seem to think this legislature is bound by something you’ve made up. Good luck with that. This is nothing more than an attempt to get a full PFD and we’ll see how it works out but your statute BS will not be any part of it.

          • But Bill, you just said you could hear them talking about my comments…

            I didn’t make anything up.
            See 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 is to be convened at a location other than at the capital, the governor shall designate the location in the proclamation.  If a special session called under (a)(2) of this section is to be convened at a location other than at the capital, the presiding officers shall agree to and designate the location in the poll conducted of the members of both houses.

          • Which is it Bill, do you think this is all something I’ve made up or do you think my comments carry no weight? If this is all something I’ve made up then clearly my comments carry a lot of weight. Obviously I didn’t make all this up, since I’ve quoted Alaska Statute that show what the law is.

            And you say my comments are a joke, Hehe!

          • Steve-O, the problem with the statute you listed conflicts with Alaska’s Constitution. You and Dunleavy’s AG are the only ones still speaking of that (not even Costello) and I have it on good authority that even the other attorney’s in Dept. of Law don’t buy Clarkson’s ruling. At any rate, Legislature has chosen to flip him off and eventually the dim bulbs (you included) on here will get the message.

          • Bill,

            You obviously haven’t read what Senator Costello wrote since you keep writing such nonsensical things. First it was that I was the one who made the whole thing up and now it’s just me and the AG talking about it. Read what Senator Costello wrote, it’s right up there^.

            Which part of the Constitution does this statute conflict with?

          • It is the separation of powers in the Constitution, Steve-O.
            Costello is entitled to her opinion but she will be shown just as wrong as you and AG Clarkson. Remember here that Clarkson had hitched his wagon to another low-watt bulb (Joe Miller) who got caught measuring the drapes in the Capital before Lisa kicked his butt. Now that I’m mentioning it, you probably were a big Joe Miller fan, right?

          • Please feel free to inform me exactly where the conflict is, using the actual words of the Constitution, come on Bill you’re a smart enough guy to teach a dim bulb with a limited intellect like myself right? Or is all you have name calling and an inability to actually make a logical and well thought out point?

          • Steve-O, I suggest you read the Legislative Affairs attorney’s opinion on the issue. You may need some help with it but, if that’s the case, I’m sure you can find someone in Wasilla middle school to help out. You will be there marching, right?

          • In other words you are unable to explain it right Bill? Here I thought you were a super smart guy, I mean that is what you keep telling us right? Seems like a smart guy like yourself could very easily point out exactly where this conflict exists, no? Since I’m just a dim bulb with a limited intellect I don’t understand how you smart fellers know all these things you think you know but don’t know how to explain them, I’m guessing it’s cause you ain’t as smart as you think you is and you don’t know what you are talking about.

            Thanks for showing the Dunning-Krueger effect once again Bill, you are an excellent example.

          • Steve-O, I gave you the answer you need to solve your dilemma-you can’t accept it that’s your problem. You are right that I could explain it to you but you will be better served if you learn it on your own-sort of like giving someone a fish, rather than teaching them to fish.
            If you are incapable of googling the information then afraid I can’t help.

          • I already know you can’t help Bill, just look at your comments here, you do not understand what you are talking about. At least half of your comments are nothing but name calling and insults and you offer little to no information to support your beliefs. You cannot provide the supposed conflicting constitutional information because you just repeat whatever line you hear that supports your belief system. It’s no big deal that you are unable to understand and process this information, but do yourself a favor and stop trying to make yourself look like you know what you are talking about simply by name calling and insulting others. Bring facts and well thought out arguments instead of the typical nonsense that got you banned from Craig Medreds site.

            Thanks,

            Steve-O

          • Ohhhhhhhhh Steve-O, I give you the reasoning as well as where to find said reasoning, as well as it’s source and you think I don’t know what I’m talking about. That’s called bringing facts, by the way.
            You just don’t want to admit your inability to find your answer-like I said, your problem.
            Go ahead and read the Legislative Affairs legal opinion on why that statute is a problem and why Legislature leadership is thumbing their nose at Dunleavy and Clarkson. Obviously you’ve not read their opinion, but still want me to explain it to you-you’re joking, right?

          • Say Steve-O, you must still be reading Legislative Affairs Legal opinion.
            Hot off the presses we have Costello losing her majority leadership and replaced by Hoffman. This is getting more interesting by the minute. Heheh!

          • I get it Bill, you read an opinion you like so you’re sticking with it even if you don’t really understand it and can’t defend it. I’ve already read what the legislative lawyer said, I was asking YOU to defend the position that you are backing. You can’t and won’t, no big deal. What’s weird is that you keep discussing something that you clearly do not want to discuss. To each their own, you support something you do not understand and cannot defend only because you agree with the political motivations behind it. That’s sad Bill, that’s sad.

          • Steve-O, I understand perfectly their opinion and why would I need to defend it, to you??
            I guess by the same token I might ask you to show where it’s wrong-that would be ridiculous IMO. Anyway, none of it matters and the only thing that does matter is that the leadership of both houses have accepted it and it is usually a smart move to take the advice of your attorney.
            What’s to discuss Steve-O? The Legislature has spoken and the Governor has, so far, accepted it-what else can he do? Go ahead and discuss whatever it is you feel the need to discuss. Otherwise stfu.

          • You just tell yourself whatever it is you need to tell yourself to sleep at night Bill. I’ve already explained it to you, Senator Costello explained it, Representatives Carpenter (http://mustreadalaska.com/scofflaw-legislative-leaders-make-statutes-optional/) and Pruitt (http://mustreadalaska.com/special-session-begins-monday-well-be-there/) have explained it…this isn’t something I made up even if you think it is in your twisted world.

            It’s called the rule of law, if you do not respect it, which clearly you do not, then you do not understand the system of government that our nation and our state was founded upon.

            In the meantime rejoice while chaos reigns.

          • Steve-O, I posted this in the wrong place but here it is here:

            Steve-O, a couple of meaningless legislators (who are defying their leadership) have an opinion and you buy into it hook, line and sinker. In fact the only one of them with any leadership was just stripped of her position which should give you an idea of what their position feels like to the actual leadership of this Legislature.
            This is hardly chaos, just politics (and hardball politics) and it will get crazier if these yahoos insist on staying in Wasilla IMO.
            What you are referring to as the rule of law is nothing of the sort. What is occurring in Juneau is the rule of law and it will be particularly tough on you nutjobs who can’t accept it.
            Want to bet on whether/not Wilson gets to Juneau by Wednesday? Heheh! I expect all the Senate members to be there, too.

          • The difference between you and I Bill is that I am able to read the statute and understand what it means, a very simple task that anyone can do. I am then able to use my words to express what it is that I understand the statute to mean. You on the other hand say you’ve read somebody else’s opinion and you agree with them. You have not shown in the constitution where this supposed conflict is, because there is no conflict. If there were a conflict and you understood that you would have said so and not simply parroted somebody else’s opinion. I don’t expect that you will ever be able to use your words to form anything resembling an argument for the sole reason that you do not have an argument, all you have is an opinion you agree with and you do not understand how that opinion was even formed.

          • The difference is that I’m hanging my hat on the legal advice of Legislative Affairs attorney (along with Leadership of House and Senate) that is clearly not “somebody.” You don’t agree with them and resort to gibberish to support your opinion. The only folks who agree with you are a few amateurs, who showed up in Wasilla, and the AG who this Legislature has totally ignored (for good reason IMO).
            You now are hanging your hat on whether/not this Legislature can override this governor’s vetos-this should be fun so bring plenty of popcorn.

        • Say Steve-O are you still reading that Legislative Affairs legal opinion and think that session that took place in Juneau today was illegal?? Heheh!
          They had a quorum in both houses and tended to business without any troopers being called by Dunleavy. Who woulda thunk it??
          Yessir that leadership in the House and Senate is doing their thing in spite of your BS, starting off with removing Costello from her majority leadership. Do you have any more ideas for that leadership?? Heheh!

          • You know what isn’t happening Bill? The veto override isn’t happening, there aren’t enough votes in Juneau for it. So while you rejoice in this absurd illegal political theater the clock is ticking and those in Juneau are going to cause this state a lot more hardship than just the veto override not going through. There is the capital budget and all the money that was budgeted out of the CBR. The $400 million in vetoes pales in comparison. But live it up Bill, celebrate away.

            Personally I will gladly trade the dividend for all of the cuts and unfunded budget items because these clowns in Juneau want to, what, try and set a precedent that has never been set ever before?

            And now there’s this https://www.ktva.com/story/40755785/former-lawmaker-to-file-suit-over-special-session-location “Any action they take in Juneau, contrary to the governor’s call for a special session is subject to being voided or just declared null and void,”

          • Steve-O, you sound like you feel you know what’s happening. Did you have a dream last night? Heheh!
            You may be making a prediction but at this point not many others are-we’ll see come Wednesday who else shows up in Juneau. So far you are the only one talking illegal and I’ll make a prediction here that no court will find what this Legislature has done, so far, to be illegal. Being subject to being null and void is not the same thing as being null and void.
            You seem especially shrill with these latest posts, suggesting it’s getting to you IMO. Tough noogies!

          • I’m getting shrill? You just told me to stfu because you are incapable of making your point! Bill I always enjoy chatting with you since you say the darndest things.

          • What I said Steve-O was, “Go ahead and discuss whatever it is you feel the need to discuss. Otherwise stfu.”
            That’s hardly shrill as you are the one insisting on some sort of discussion about a legal opinion. Glad you enjoy these little chats. Heheh!

          • Bill,

            Thanks for clarifying that once again a nonsensical statement such as “Go ahead and discuss whatever it is you feel the need to discuss. Otherwise stfu.” is what you wanted to say. I really do thank you from the bottom of my heart for your permission to discuss whatever it is I want to discuss, you sir are a benevolent and kind man. And for allowing me, if I so choose, to stfu if I do not want to discuss whatever it is that you so benevolently allow me to discuss, I also thank you and your benevolent ways.

            But, good sir, I can’t help but notice you still have yet to actually make any point in defense of your position…other than somebody said so and because somebody says it you believes it.

          • Steve-O, you are daft!

          • Oh no!!! Bill called me daft! Whatever shall I do? Seriously Bill use your words to prove a point, grow up and use big boy words, stop calling names and trying to insult others. You also might want to look up the word daft and then review your comments here.

          • I apologize for that Steve-O as your gibberish was just you getting more shrill as things don’t go your way.
            When the veto overrides take place you’ll want to keep away from any firearms and sharp instruments, should this Legislature get their 45 votes. Heheh!

          • How do you think they are going to get to 45 votes when there aren’t 45 legislators in Juneau?

        • Bill,

          Thanks for being honest about this finally, you cannot comment on something you do not understand so you hang your hat on other peoples opinions. There is nothing wrong with that, I don’t understand why you would waste so much time commenting on something you readily admit is somebody else’s opinion, but to each their own.

          Thanks again for the laughs Bill, you always have a way of making me laugh.

          • Steve-O, the separation of powers constitutional issue is not somebody’s opinion. My opinion is that the constitution is not explicit on the location of the special session, like it is with date/time and thus gives the Legislature much leeway (and they’ve taken it). I further believe the courts will not intervene in such separation of powers with the Leadership of both Houses in lockstep with their positions.
            Now, as to the number of folks in Juneau who will vote, you have no idea of who will be in Juneau on Wednesday, or Friday for that matter.

          • Thank you for finally stating your opinion on the matter of discussion, was that so hard?
            If the constitution is not explicit on location (as you say) and there is a law that is how is there a conflict? One need remember that Alaska’s governor has much more power and authority than any other executive in the country, per the constitution. While separation of power is a central to our form of government, our laws allow for the governor to call a special session including the subject, the date, and the location. AS 24.05.100 sees to that.

          • Steve-O your arguments are not for me but for the Leadership of Legislature. I agree that Alaska’s governor has much authority but that is basically due to his line-item veto power and would have no authority in the separations of power IMO. The courts just may get a chance to weigh in here but it is my opinion the they will not tread on the separation of powers issue. We may get to see it play out but with the pros in Juneau getting their job done I suspect the “Thrilla in Wasilla” is fast becoming yesterday’s news. And about time, too.

          • What separation of powers issue? The constitution grants the govern the power to hold a special session the statute allows the governor to select the subject, time, and location. Just saying separation of power is in the constitution does not mean anything unless you back it up with specifics. In this case, as you previously said, “the constitution is not explicit on the location of the special session” that means there is no conflict. The governor is not appropriating funds or otherwise doing the job of the legislature he is simply calling a special session per the law. The courts will have to do something with this case since there is a lawsuit and as the judiciary it is their responsibility to rule on the law.

          • Like I said Steve-O, you need to be arguing with the Leadership of Legislature and not me. They have agreed with Legislative Affairs legal opinion that there is a constitutional issue-I see their point but they didn’t ask me for my position. Heheh!
            You don’t agree. Tough Noogies!
            There is no lawsuit, as yet, but if there is they will rule-My opinion here is that no court will get involved in a separation of powers issue, or if Vezey can find one who will rule in his favor the appellate court will make short work of it. I’ll be expecting you to be involved as a friend of the court to give your expert advice to the judge. Heheh!

          • Bill,

            I’m not arguing with you at all, there is no argument since you have nothing to argue. With your own words you have disproven your own opinion…well the opinion that was given to you by tye legislative folks you agree with anyways. In the same sentence you say “There is no lawsuit, as yet” and then you acknowledge that there is a lawsuit, seems like this whole thing is confusing you. Maybe you should spend less time calling names and insulting others and more time reading and thinking. Or just keep being you and get banned from another website.

          • Steve-O the lawsuit hasn’t been filed (Wed. was what I heard was when it was to be filed) as yet so until then there isn’t one.
            Boy, things must be getting hot for you to get this shrill and to be worrying about me getting banned for making a fool of you. Hot Damn, wouldn’t that be a hoot? Heheh!

          • Indeed Bill, you making a fool out of me would be a hoot. Since you have yet to come close I wouldn’t bank on it if I were you, but it’s good to have goals. You really should shoot for the stars since the best you could hope for is to make me look a fool. So sad, so, so sad for you. One of these days it will make sense to you or maybe not, ignorance as they say is bliss. See you in the funny pages Bill, I’m out on this one. I’m glad you finally sacked up and had an opinion that you claimed as your own, even if it wasn’t. If you did more of that some might take you serious, until then you remain the Bill Yankee insult and joke show.

          • Boy Steve-O I sure hope you aren’t going away mad. Heheh!
            I’ve noticed that you are starting to answer Mongo, which should be a signal to you to get some sleep. Wake up tomorrow refreshed and able to both walk and chew gum at the same time, right?
            We’ll get another day of govt. session in Juneau and see how the pros do it while that comedy crowd at the Thrilla in Wasilla thumbs their noses at their constituents because they’ve left them without representation at the government’s business. Now that’s a hoot, too.

  • Nicely reasoned and said…I don’t think I’d be as nice.

  • Pleased my Rep. has the combined good sense and courage of conviction to follow the law and not join the liberals left and right in Juneau. Bravo Senator Costello!

  • All those legislators who flew to Juneau should be required to pay for their own tickets. If they drug their staffs with them, they should also pay for those tickets . Why should Alaskans be made to day for them to break the law?

    • Since the meetings are to be held in Los Anchorage, its reasonable to think their staffs will set up shop there.
      What law are they breaking, by the way Richard? As I understand it they are doing what their legal counsel has determined the law is-And Dunleavy has said he will cross that bridge (gavel-in in Juneau) when it comes. As said by Senator Steadman, “this is not a comedy show” but as you can see that Costello and some others think it is.

  • Well, they do have the Supreme Court on their side.

    • HAHA. That’s a good one, and true too!

  • Senator Costello, as Senate Majority Leader, what do you plan to do about your cohort Giessel?
    .
    At the very least, it seems appropriate for the Senate to replace Giessel as President.

    • Morrigan, something needs to happen for sure. What in the world happened to her? I’ve had whiplash this session so many times…I can’t keep up. Senator Giessel has really blown it. Why she is in lockstep with Edgmon is beyond me.

      • I’ll give it a shot, Garnet. It’s beyond you because logic is beyond you.
        The Legislature has their own legal representation and they’ve been advised of their position. Not particularly surprising that they would be in lockstep with each other. The real question is why Costello is going out on her own-just a hail mary thing or as Senator Steadman has said this is not a comedy show. Perhaps Costello thinks she is a comedian.

        • You might be right. Maybe Costello saw a chance to make political points by preaching to the choir and did so. Opportunity knocks, why not answer…

          Doesn’t solve the problem, but feels good…
          .
          Stedman’s right, this is no comedy show, laws, constitution, PFD aside, this looks a lot like buyers who want what they bought, and want it now.

          • Or buyers remorse.

      • Looking at https://www.alaskasenate.org/2020/member/cathy-giessel/… wonderful things and groups and people with which and whom Giessel is actively involved, one wonders how our advanced nurse practitioner triages all the competing interests to their satisfaction, where our ANP finds time to perform this monumental task, and last but not least, where the Senator will find the money to give them what they want.
        .
        Then we read the 2019 Alaska Lobbyist Directory and realize the attentions of Alaska’s $20M per year lobbyist army have to be focused squarely on Senate leadership to assure Senate approval for whatever the army wants.
        .
        Nowhere in either of these places do we find Garnet, Morrigan, or tens of other productive Alaskans.
        .
        Sadly, this seems to be what happened to Smart, Strong, Sensible Senator Giessel.

  • Bill Yankee / July 7, 2019… “Or buyers’ remorse.”
    .
    You’re terrible!
    .
    Forgive me in advance for accidentally plagiarizing…

    • Well morrigan we’ve sure seen the “opportunity knocks” for Costello as she has been removed from her majority leadership position. And I think we are just now getting started with the buyer’s remorse thing. Heheh!

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