AND BY THAT HE MEANS ‘FULLY FUNDED’
One day after a judge awarded him the win for District 40’s House seat, Rep. Ben Nageak issued a statement on Facebook saying he will pre-file a bill that mirrors the one being offered by Sen. Mike Dunleavy of Wasilla: Full funding of the 2016 Permanent Fund dividend through a supplemental appropriation.
Nageak noted that people in rural Alaska depend on their Permanent Fund dividends for the basics, such as food and fuel.
The dividend — in its entirety — had been voted for by the Republican-led majority in the operating budget numerous times during in 2016. Democrats repeatedly voted against the operating budget.
The calculated amount was $2,052 before Gov. Bill Walker vetoed the appropriation in June.
Several Republican House members were planning a similar move to restore the funding, but Nageak beat them to it through his Facebook post.
Sen. Dunleavy held a press conference last week announcing the Permanent Fund Dividend Restoration Act. If it passes, the governor could still veto it, but his veto might be overridden by a united Legislature.
Sen. Bill Wielechowski, and former Sens. Clem Tillion and Rick Halford filed a lawsuit against the governor for not paying out the full dividend. The first hearing is scheduled for Nov. 17, but legal observers tell Must Read that because the dividend it is an appropriation item, the lawsuit is a long shot.