Gov. Mike Dunleavy speaks to reporters about his budget vetoes at the state Capitol in Juneau, June 28. (AP Photo/Becky Bohrer)

Gov. Mike Dunleavy speaks to reporters about his budget vetoes at the state Capitol in Juneau, June 28. (AP Photo/Becky Bohrer)

Dunleavy amends special session call, moves site to Juneau

Obstacles remain, however.

  • Wednesday, July 17, 2019 11:30pm
  • News

ANCHORAGE — Facing a loss of federal grants for highway construction projects and village water systems, Gov. Mike Dunleavy has amended his call for a second special legislative session and will support lawmakers meeting in Juneau.

Dunleavy originally called for the special session to be in his hometown of Wasilla, which led to legislators meeting in two locations and a legal dispute over the legality of any actions taken.

Leaders of the state House and Senate, citing security and a television service that allows residents around the state to observe proceedings, gathered most lawmakers July 8 at the Capitol.

About a third of the Legislature, including minority Republicans in the House and a handful of senators, met at a makeshift legislative hall inside the gymnasium of a Wasilla middle school.

The split Legislature ended Wednesday when Dunleavy called for the special session to be in Juneau. Lawmakers from both locations said progress was needed on the state construction budget and could not be completed at two locations, Dunleavy said.

“With sensitivity to the time that remains to capture federal funds, the Legislature will be able to quickly consider the capital budget, the PFD (Alaska Permanent Fund dividend), and conclude this work for the people of Alaska before the end of July,” Dunleavy said.

Senate President Cathy Giessel, R-Anchorage, said she and House Speaker Bryce Edgmon, an independent from Dillingham, have been in talks with Dunleavy and minority leaders of both houses to find common ground.

“In the past week, he has made time to meet with us personally for several hours at a time,” she said. “I’m very grateful for him engaging with us.”

Dunleavy on Thursday plans to introduce a construction budget that will contain state matching funds for federal transportation programs and village water projects. The bill will contain funding for a crime bill passed this year and “necessary fixes” for a capital projects bill passed in May.

Obstacles remain, however.

Dunleavy vetoed more than $400 million from the state operating budget. About one-third, $130 million, was directed at the University of Alaska. On top of a $5 million reduction made by legislators, the university faces a 41% state funding loss and UA officials have said the result could be the loss of 2,000 positions.

Dunleavy also eliminated or reduced funding for early childhood education, public libraries, Medicaid dental coverage, behavioral health treatment grants, the state arts council, public broadcasting, benefits to poor senior citizens and reimbursement to school districts for school construction.

State lawmakers who tried unsuccessfully to override Dunleavy vetoes have vowed to use other legislation to restore funding for the university.

Legislative leaders found common ground with the governor on the session location and expansion of the agenda to include construction projects, Giessel said, but so far not on restorations to the operating budget.

“They are, however, one of the main discussion points we are having with the governor, seeking alignment,” she said. “I am very optimistic we will find agreement on those issues and they’ll be coming forward as well.”

• By Dan Joling, Associated Press

More in News

The Alaska State Capitol is seen on Wednesday, April 6, 2022. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire)
Legislature modernizes 40-year-old definition of consent in sexual assault cases

‘Alaska took a gargantuan step forward in updating our laws,’ says deputy attorney general

Project stakeholders cut a ribbon at the Nikiski Shelter of Hope on Friday, May 20, 2022, in Nikiski, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Stakeholders celebrate opening of Nikiski shelter

The shelter officially opened last December

Peter Segall / Juneau Empire
Gov. Mike Dunleavy speaks with reporters Thursday about the state’s budget at the Alaska State Capitol. Dunleavy said lawmakers had sent a complete budget, and that there was no need for a special session.
Dunleavy: No need for special session

Governor calls budget “complete”

A magnet promoting the Alaska Reads Act released sits atop a stack of Alaskan-authored and Alaska-centric books. Lawmakers passed the Alaska Reads Act on the last day of the legislative session, but several members of the House of Representatives were upset with the bill, and the way it was passed. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)
In last-minute move, Legislature passes early reading overhaul

Rural lawmakers push back on Alaska Reads Act

Graduates wait to receive diplomas during Connections Homeschool’s commencement ceremony on Thursday, May 19, 2022, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Connections honors more than 100 graduates

The home-school program held a ceremony Thursday in Soldotna

Alaska Senate President Peter Micciche, left, and Senate Minority Leader Tom Begich, right, meet with reporters in Micciche’s office in the early morning hours of Thursday, May 19, 2022, in Juneau, Alaska, after the Legislature ended its regular session. Micciche, a Republican, and Begich, a Democrat, discussed their working relationship, as well as well as parts of the session they were either pleased with or disappointed with. (AP Photo/Becky Bohrer)
After House balks at bigger figure, budget OK’d with $3,200 payout per Alaskan

Budget finishes as second-largest in state history by one measure, but Dunleavy could make cuts

Loren Reese, principal at Kenai Alternative High School, gives Oliver Larrow the Mr. Fix It award Wednesday, May 18, 2022, at Kenai Alternative High School in Kenai, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)
Kenai Alternative graduates 22, says goodbye to principal

The ceremony included special awards customized for students

Graduates throw their caps into the air at the end of Soldotna High School’s commencement ceremony on Wednesday, May 18, 2022, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
‘We never fell down’

Soldotna High School honors more than 100 graduates

Brandi Harbaugh gives a presentation during a joint work session on Tuesday, March 2, 2021, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Mill rate decrease, max school funding included in proposed borough budget

The final document is subject to approval by the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly

Most Read