Senate follows House’s lead, adjourns special session

Lawmakers have officially ended the fifth special session of the 29th Alaska Legislature.

At 11:45 a.m. Monday, Senate President Kevin Meyer, R-Anchorage, dropped the gavel on the Senate’s session, following in the path of the House, which gaveled out on Friday. Under Article II, Section 10 of the Alaska Constitution, if the Senate had not gaveled out, it would have forced the House to return to Juneau for additional work.

With the House unable to make progress on a fix to the state’s $3 billion budget deficit, that action had been considered unlikely.

“It is disappointing … to stand ready to work and have our friends in the other body not be able to move forward,” said Sen. Anna MacKinnon, R-Anchorage.

MacKinnon’s remarks followed those of Senate Minority Leader Berta Gardner, D-Anchorage: “To say I’m disappointed feels inadequate.”

During the 29th Legislature second regular session and the two special sessions that followed — 157 working days in total — the Senate took the lead on most of the substantive bills passed by lawmakers this year.

Medicaid reform, criminal justice reform, the state budget, reform of the Power-Cost Equalization program, reform of community revenue sharing and a new military code of justice came from the Senate before advancing to a divided House of Representatives.

In their valedictory addresses Monday, senators said they accomplished much, even if they didn’t fix the state budget. Sen. Pete Kelly, R-Fairbanks, called that missing action a “cornerstone” piece of legislation.

Sen. Dennis Egan, D-Juneau, declined to deliver remarks he prepared for the end of the session, but in a copy of the speech he provided to the Empire, he says he wishes “we’d have stayed to figure out how to pay for the stuff in the budget — long term. There was room to work on what the (Permanent Fund Dividend) amount should be. There was room to work on what the budget should be.”

According to Gov. Bill Walker, the Legislature’s inability to pass a budget-balancing bill leaves Alaska, as of July 1, with 36 months of savings.

Contact reporter James Brooks at

More in News

Alaska State Troopers logo.
Fatal collision near Anchor Point closes highway for hours

Troopers received a call about the collision shortly after noon

Members of the Soldotna Elks Lodge #2706, including Exalted Ruler Robert Dixon and Secretary Shannon Woodford (third and fifth from the left) stand with purchased toys and clothes for donation to local children at the lodge in Soldotna, Alaska, on Friday, Dec. 2, 2022. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Soldotna Elks to donate toys and clothes to local kids

Yearlong fundraiser brings in more than $13,000

Portions of the Kenai bluff can be seen eroding below Old Town Kenai in this undated photo. (Photo by Aidan Curtin/courtesy Scott Curtin)
Portions of the Kenai bluff can be seen eroding below Old Town Kenai in this undated photo. (Photo by Aidan Curtin/courtesy Scott Curtin)
Infrastructure dollars flood peninsula

Federal infrastructure bill makes available more than $232M for peninsula projects

Soldotna City Hall is seen on Wednesday, June 23, 2021 in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Soldotna bumps vote on use of accessory housing as short-term rentals

An accessory dwelling unit is a subordinate, detached dwelling unit located on a lot or parcel with an existing residence

Foliage surrounds the Soldotna Police Department sign on Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2022 in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Foliage surrounds the Soldotna Police Department sign on Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2022, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Law enforcement to host women’s self-defense class in January

Within 48 hours of the course being advertised, 120 women had signed up to participate

Alaska State Troopers logo.
Local hunter credits community members for Thanksgiving rescue

Glover said he didn’t even strike out from his home to go hunting

In this July 13, 2007, photo, workers with the Pebble Mine project test drill in the Bristol Bay region of Alaska, near the village of Iliamma. (AP Photo / Al Grillo)
EPA proposes restrictions to block Pebble Mine

Mine developer Pebble Limited Partnershi called the EPA’s decision a preemptive veto

Architect Nancy Casey speaks in front of a small gathering at this year’s final Fireside Chat presented by the Kenai Watershed Forum on Nov. 30, 2022, at Kenai River Brewing in Soldotna, Alaska. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Building with the environment in mind

Kenai Watershed Forum’s Fireside Chats conclude

Johni Blankenship signs her name after being sworn in as Soldotna City Clerk at a city council meeting on Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2022, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Blankenship sworn in as Soldotna city clerk

Blankenship comes to the City of Soldotna from the Kenai Peninsula Borough

Most Read