Having voted through the three bills to restore funding to the government and allocate an Alaska Permanent Fund dividend, the House of Representatives is recessed until Monday, when a crucial, potentially final, vote will take place.
House Speaker Bryce Edgmon’s office sent out a press release Thursday evening saying that the House would vote to rescind its previous action on the capital budget bill. The House was one vote shy of passing it on July 22, but the speaker’s office said in a press release that they were confident that a 30th vote would be obtained before the end of the month, either from a legislator who was not present or from someone who had previously voted against the bill.
Friday morning the House finished its work on HB 2003, the bill which would allocate $1,600 for a PFD. When the House moved to adjourn until Monday, Rep. Tammie Wilson, R-North Pole, raised an objection.
“People are tired of us wasting their money,” she said. If there was work to be done, it should be done, Wilson said, citing the expenses many legislators incur while in Juneau.
Edgmon, I-Dillingham, said he does not usually reply to comments on the floor, but that this vote was, “crucial to the future of Alaska,” and that it was necessary to allow time for every legislator possible to come to Juneau for Monday’s vote.
The House adjourned Friday morning until 11 a.m. Monday.
If the House does pass its legislation, it would then go to Gov. Mike Dunleavy who would have the power to veto those bills. The governor and many of his supporters in the Legislature have made a $3,000 PFD a priority and it’s unclear how he might respond to legislation on his desk that doesn’t allocate that amount.
However, if the House does obtain 30 votes, in combination with the senate’s previous vote of 19-0, there would be enough votes in the Legislature to override the governor’s veto, assuming no one changes their vote.
If the legislation does not pass then the government will remain unfunded and another special session may have to be called.
In a press conference via telephone Thursday, Governor Dunleavy told reporters, “if the work’s not done, we have to” have yet another special session.
Whether or not there will be enough votes to avoid that will become clear soon, said House Minority Leader Lance Pruitt, R-Anchorage, said, “I guess we’ll find out Monday.”
• Contact reporter Peter Segall at 523-2228 or firstname.lastname@example.org.