A janitor vacuums at the Capitol just before midnight Thursday, June 23, 2017, after both the House and Senate voted to approve a budget and keep the State of Alaska from shutting down on July 1. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

A janitor vacuums at the Capitol just before midnight Thursday, June 23, 2017, after both the House and Senate voted to approve a budget and keep the State of Alaska from shutting down on July 1. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Legislature averts shutdown, but more work remains

The morning after the Alaska Legislature averted a statewide shutdown, you could find more tourists than legislators in the Capitol.

Though the Legislature’s second special session continues, work has all but stopped as lawmakers seek to decompress after months of budgetary debate and discussion.

“I think that one thing that all of us in the Capitol can agree on is this has probably been the single most contentious legislative session that most of us have experienced,” Speaker of the House Bryce Edgmon said Thursday night.

“I think we have more work to do. I think both sides understand that,” said Senate Majority Leader Peter Micciche, R-Soldotna, shortly afterward. “I think the Legislature needs to take some time off, cool down, come back together and work out solutions to the remaining issues that have to be dealt with this year.”

Those issues include a capital construction budget and the state’s multibillion-dollar deficit.

Despite five months of work, the Legislature passed no bill that addressed that deficit.

The compromise budget does include some spending cuts, but many of those involve one-time decisions that won’t be possible next year.

 

Rep. Gary Knopp, R-Kenai, left, Rep. Daniel Ortiz, I-Ketchikan, right, and Rep. Dean Westlake, D-Kotzebue, listen to debate on the state budget Thursday, June 23, 2017. Both the House and Senate voted to approve a budget and keep the State of Alaska from shutting down on July 1. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Rep. Gary Knopp, R-Kenai, left, Rep. Daniel Ortiz, I-Ketchikan, right, and Rep. Dean Westlake, D-Kotzebue, listen to debate on the state budget Thursday, June 23, 2017. Both the House and Senate voted to approve a budget and keep the State of Alaska from shutting down on July 1. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

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