Sen. Costello, Rep. Pruitt cobble a compromise on Special Session



Senate Majority Leader Mia Costello and House Minority Leader Lance Pruitt today asked Gov. Michael Dunleavy to add federal match dollars for airport and highway projects in the Department of Transportation capital budget to the call for the second legislative special session. 

“The members of the Alaska House and Senate who are supporting the constitutional call in Wasilla believe we have found a solution to this challenge. To help keep our state moving forward, we respectfully request that you add ‘state general fund match for airports and road programs in DOT&PF’ to your proclamation calling the legislature into special session on July 8th, 2019.

“With this language added to the call, we will be able to successfully fund these critical projects while we address the matter of the permanent fund dividend which you have placed on the call. We hope that you will give our request full consideration,” Costello and Pruitt wrote.

Late Friday, they got their answer: Gov. Dunleavy has agreed to amend his call for special session, on the condition the Legislature meets in Wasilla on Monday:

“At this point, the legislature needs to understand that the only path to a solution involves working with the governor and each other,” said Sen. Costello. “I hope that when the legislature arrives in Wasilla on Monday, that they’ll be ready to address the issues that Alaskans need addressed, such as funding for roads and infrastructure, and the PFD.”

Earlier today, Sen. Costello announced publicly that she would be attending the special session in Wasilla.

How many legislators will go to Wasilla, and how many to Juneau is still up in the air. At least 16 Republicans in the House plan to go to Wasilla, where Gov. Dunleavy has called the special session, and about six in the Senate will as well. Democrats in the House, and a handful of Republicans who collaborate with them may end up in Juneau, where Speaker Bryce Edgmon and Senate President Cathy Giessel say they will convene the Senate because they don’t want to go to Wasilla.

A private citizen spoke to Must Read Alaska today and is planning to ask for a legal injunction against the Juneau venue, because Gov. Dunleavy named Wasilla as the location of the second special session, and some view the Juneau decision as contrary to law.

“Roads are crucial to our economy, and we simply cannot allow legislative gridlock to jeopardize our roads.” said Rep. Pruitt. “I hope the governor will act on our request quickly and that our colleagues in the Senate will recognize the urgent need to come together in Wasilla to ensure that our road funding is secure.”

Sen. Mike Shower, of Wasilla, said, “I’m encouraged that our leaders are willing to put important road and infrastructure projects before politics. I look forward to supporting these projects during our upcoming special session.”

Even freshman legislator Rep. Kelly Merrick of Eagle River praised the effort to get some of the more critical capital spending projects onto the call, to relieve the stresses on those in the building trades. The deadline on many of those projects is around the end of July for work that will proceed in 2021.

“I encourage Governor Dunleavy to add this to the call for the second special session,” Merrick said. “These projects are crucial for Alaskans, and will provide jobs, economic growth, and ensure the safety of our families.”

Monday is the start date for the second special session, but at this point it looks like the Legislature is split on whether to honor the statute, which gives the governor the authority to name the venue.

Must Read Alaska has also learned that those going to Juneau will attempt to override the governor’s vetoes as early as Tuesday, but they’ll be missing at least 22 members, who will be convening at Wasilla Middle School. The Legislature needs 45 of 60 members to override the governor’s vetoes.


  1. It will be exceeding interesting to see who shows up in Wasilla and who flies to Juneau.
    Who’s going to pay the expenses in Juneau when the Gov’s called the session for Wasilla?

  2. Those legislators that flew to Juneau in violation of Gov. Dunleavy’s call for a special session in Wasilla should be required to pay for their own tickets. The State should not have to pay for an illegal act.

  3. The Republicans who arrive at Juneau will wish they hadn’t. These disloyal turncoats and traitors might as well join the Democrat Party. We Republicans will not forget.

    • You’re right on!
      When all this BS has ended a list should be published listing all who (Republicans) went to Juneau instead of going to Wasilla. They should be voted out of office. It’s just amazing to me how politicians who were voted into office to represent their constituents feel they can go against what the people of the state want.

      • We all just love it when someone called “walt” makes talk about what the people of the state want. Do the polls all give you a call before they do their voting on major issues??

        • Yank, get over it fella. The election is over. Dunleavy won. The people spoke. Try again in three years. Or, take your dividend and simply leave. No one will miss you.

          • And we love it when someone called “kemosabee” also attempts to inform us on how the people have spoken. We happened to be talking about whether/not Legislature will be meeting in Juneau or Wasilla (not about vote back in November). You seem to be having trouble speaking for yourself and insist you speak for everyone-You have walt’s sense of importance, it seems.
            We shall see how this special session shakes out (Wasilla or Juneau)-You taking any bets?

          • “We?” I only hear you, Yank. Who’s “we?” Get some reality and quit smokin all that wacky stuff. You sound like a looney toon. Go back to your funny books.

          • I take it you (the expert on smoking wacky stuff) are not taking any bets on next special session kemosabee! No guts??

          • Bye Yank. We’re done here because you have nothing intellectual to offer. Sleep well, or whatever it is you do under the covers.

          • Yessir kemosabee, someone who refers to weed as wacky stuff is surely someone who would have something intellectual to offer on just about any subject.
            What is it that you do under the covers, since you bring it up?

  4. None of the legislators heading to Juneau instead of Wasilla should receive per diem or travel or any kind of recompense.

    • Karen, I think they will have a very hard time getting the per diem. It’s not automatic and since Wasilla is the legal location, seriously doubt they can get it because Juneau would be an illegal location.

  5. This is exciting. Legislators who are true Alaskans will be in Wasilla come Monday. Edgmon would lose a chess game with this Governor, time after time. Meanwhile self-interested people are sending their lobbyists to Juneau in an effort to keep deficit spending going and going and going. If you live in a community that is paying a lobbyist to work against a balanced budget you should be standing in front of city hall with a sign. If you ever again give to a nonprofit who is now asking for veto overrides you are crazy. Deficit spending is trashing our economy; this Governor fixing the mess, and so many interest groups are thinking only of themselves.

  6. Juneau legislative leaders should be embarrassed with themselves. No road out of Juneau connecting Juneau to the rest of Alaska, right in the middle of one of the largest tourist seasons in SE Ak, where is everyone supposed to stay and there is no such thing as the United State of Alaska so the state legislature needs to quit acting like congress do their job and go home. Being a state of Alaska legislator is not a year around job.

    • Juneau has legislators, but they fit no definition of leader that I know. Juneau has played this completely wrong; backing the AML over the administration. Juneau city government, Edgmon and House Republicans who joined the House Majority will lose. Governor Dunleavy is doing exactly what he said he would do at every gubernatorial debate. He is taking the only realistic path given the Alaska economy. Every dollar of spending has 2 or 3 lobbyists, but Alaska elected Mike Dunleavy to balance the budget. But don’t worry, the lobbyists will still be paid by municipal governments.

  7. I sent this to @GovDunleavy Will you and/or the AG file criminal charges against any legislator who files for per diem while attending session in Juneau? My view this would be fraud.

    • Great idea. Legislators should also be made to pay for their tickets (and staff) for these illegal trips for which they had no authorization.

  8. Thank you Senator Costello and Representative Pruitt for withstanding the heat from the special constituencies who have their hooves in the government trough. I say, “Drain the govt trough”.

  9. Just was reading Mia’s opinion piece on ADN and found these lines very telling of the dichotomy evolving here in the Alaskan government:
    “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.”
    My question to Mia would be; Are these Legislators using vulgar slurs to describe residents of the Valley?
    If so, this should be addressed immediately…
    Funny how MRAK reported that Bryce attended the protest in Anchorage, yet there are concerns for safety at a high school in Wasilla?
    Seems like the entire Legislature is dysfunctional and should be separated just like two “trouble” teens in high school.

    • Steve, should that be addressed similarly to when Don Trump referred to several African countries as “shithole countries?”

      • Bill,
        Trump has made it clear that he is untouchable by the people and press of this nation (or Congress for that matter)…
        Do we wish for AK to follow down this road of disenfranchised “us and them” residents?
        Mia’s sentence was “…vulgar slurs against Valley residents…”
        If this is coming from the mouths of bigots among the electorate…then voters should know the “who and what” behind this accusation.
        Some accountability from government would be nice…
        Especially after several had no problem with their Safety at a Protest in the city with the highest rate of crime in Alaska..
        Do you see the hypocrisy in all of this?

        • Steve, you of all people know better than to ask that question rhetorically. We’re already a long ways down that road. As a state and as a nation. The lines are getting more definitive by the hour.

        • First of all Steve, Mia’s comment was pretty vague-pretty hard to get one’s panties in a bunch for something like “vulgar slurs against Valley residents.” You say “if” this is coming from the electorate but there is hardly any evidence of this and further one person’s “slur” is another’s badge of honor.
          I’ve heard some pretty interesting stuff about Valley people and I spend little time in that area, in particular. My guess is Mia was referring to regular slurs that are common ever since Sarah deteriorated in her position as governor.
          As far as the hypocrisy, the overall crime rate would have little to do with specific threats that were leveled at certain legislators (from supposedly Valley people). Heheh!

  10. The Governor has created the equivalent of a New York City traffic jam. Can’t move forward – can’t move backward.
    It’s all such a sad spectacle and totally unnecessary. We all agree to balance the budget – right?
    We are the most fortunate State in the Nation – having a Permanent Fund that can provide a sustainable amount of income to pay into our State budget that would otherwise have to be paid by individual taxes PLUS afford a cash Dividend to every resident!
    Additionally the State has “borrowed” $14 Billion from the CBR that is “supposed” to be repaid under the State Constitution (Someone needs to sue the Legislature for ignoring this requirement while sending PFER funds back to the PF. This is akin to someone filing bankruptcy after sending their wealth to the Caymen Islands to avoid paying their debts.)
    The polarization and vitriol of the electorate over what should be common sense and standard ethical accounting practices makes me believe that “money is the root of all evil” “don’t look a gift horse in the mouth” and my favorite: “spite is a poison that YOU take to kill the other person”.

    • The Governor is doing exactly what he said he would do and exactly what we elected him to do. Voters approved the CBR to work exactly this way. You can call it a traffic jam; I call it the process voters want.

      • Is that sarcasm? A joke perhaps? I voted for Mike and he certainly did not say he was going to do all of these cuts.
        There is plenty of blame to go around in the Legislature too.
        I can’t wait to hear what you have to say when he vetoes a reasonable Dividend amount ($1,000) – leaving you with zip.
        All I ask is for a balanced budget – none of Dunleavy’s budget proposals accomplish this.
        PS Have you even read the Constitutional Amendment for the CBR(F) that the voters approved? It seems you have not.

    • That’s what you get with 18 years of Republican government management. The one guy who finally tries to get the problem under control, Gov. Walker, gets hammered by the establishment that caused the problems.

      • I agree G but one must remember that Walker defeated the Republican’s boy Parnell and they controlled both Houses initially and didn’t owe Walker a thing.

  11. Real potential for a comedy show here. Half or so in Wasilla and the rest inJuneau. Not enough either place to do anything. With EDGEMON and Geisel in Juneau I assume the Wasilla bunch can,t legally gavel in. Hopefully they will argue and get nothing done and while we won,t get a dividend, the vetos might remain!!!

    • “Half”-you are joking, right? They will be lucky to get double digits.
      The comedy show will start with whom gets handcuffs. Heheh!

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