Senate President Cathy Giessel and House Speaker Bryce Edgmon asked Gov. Michael Dunleavy to call a third Special Session in order to hammer out a formula for the Permanent Fund dividend going forward.
The two made the request in a letter to the governor on Wednesday. The current special session runs through Aug. 7, and both the House and Senate are currently adjourned until Aug. 6.
“Among our discussions in the legislature is the future use of the earnings of the Alaska Permanent Fund and the need to consider policy issues relevant to the long-term sustainability of the Fund and the PFD. There is also broad recognition that given the complexity involved that attempting to find a solution during a regular legislative session is difficult if not virtually impractical,” they wrote.
“We are proposing that a special session take place before the end of the 2019 calendar year to consider the issue. Furthermore, it is our wish to work collaboratively with your administration on the timing of the special session, the location, and the need to ensure the broadest possible debate be facilitated relative to the critical nature of the issue under discussion.
“To that end, the co-chairs of the bicameral legislative Permanent Fund Working Group have been directed to schedule meetings as soon as practically possible. Their purpose is to do the advance work necessary for the Legislature to meet its objective during the special session.
“We thank your administration for being available to work with the PFWG and hope the atmosphere of mutual collaboration can continue in upcoming months. We also extend our gratitude to you for making yourself and your team available to meet and discuss the many important issues that came with passing operating and capital budgets during this second special legislative session,” Giessel and Edgmon wrote.
The Legislature can call itself into a special session, but needs 40 votes, which it may find difficult to muster under the current political climate. Meanwhile, the spending bill and Permanent Fund dividend bill has not yet been transmitted to Dunleavy’s desk, where it will face a series of line item vetoes.