Speaker Louise Stutes decided she is done with this special session, and released the following statement on Tuesday morning:
“Following the unfortunate failure to build consensus on SB 3006, the House of Representatives has completed its work. The House Majority passed an $1,100 dividend, for the second time this year after it was vetoed by the Governor, and the bill waits approval in the Senate. Our rules preclude us from concurring the same day the other body passes legislation and there is no time left for a conference committee should the bill change in the Senate. But I am assured that the bill is safe in the capable hands of the Senate. Alaskans are counting on us to deliver the largest dividend we can afford without any further political delay, and I urge the Senate and Governor to join the House and deliver on that responsibility.”
House Bill 3006 is the telehealth bill that was hung up after Amendment 4 passed, which she and most Democrats object to. That amendment gives patients the right to have an advocate by their side in the hospital.
Rep. David Eastman, a member of the Republican minority, protested the decision to end the session early:
“Under the Uniform Rules of the Alaska State Legislature, the Alaska House of Representatives is required to ‘convene daily’, ‘unless otherwise ordered by a majority vote of the members present.’ House Records show that no such vote was taken at our last floor session.
“Further, I was personally in attendance at this morning’s scheduled 10am floor session, and I can assure you that no such vote was taken.
“Our Uniform Rules also require that in order to adjourn sine die from the current special session before the session expires, a vote must be taken by a majority of the members of the full house. I can attest, as can the Chief Clerk, that no such vote has been taken to adjourn sine die and end the current special session. As the elected Speaker of the House, you are entrusted with the responsibility of presiding over scheduled floor sessions of the Alaska House of Representatives.
“Our constitution and our Uniform Rules do not grant you the authority to cancel a scheduled floor session of the Alaska House of Representatives. As no one was present with me at our 10am floor session that was scheduled for today, and as it is our obligation as a body to convene daily, I am notifying you and all other members of my intention to return to the House Floor at noon today to complete the business that is before us in the current special session. Neither you nor I have the authority to declare that the Alaska House of Representatives will fail to convene on a day that we are required to convene under the Uniform Rules. I hope that you and all other members will join me at noon today on the House Floor.”