Alaska lawmakers OK retroactive allowances for themselves
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) – The Latest on the Alaska Legislature (all times local):
Alaska legislators will be able to collect retroactively an allowance for days they were in Juneau for the special session before the operating budget passed.
The Legislative Council authorized the payments Thursday. The council’s chairman, Sen. Gary Stevens, says lawmakers can decide if they want to claim the $302 a day allowance.
A state law says if an operating budget is not passed by the 121st day the Legislature is in session, lawmakers cannot collect the allowance until the budget passes.
An attorney for the Legislature says nothing in that law prohibits the council from authorizing retroactive payments.
The 121st day, the last day of the regular session, was May 15. The special session started May 16. The budget passed Monday.
Legislators who live in Juneau aren’t eligible for the allowance.
Gov. Mike Dunleavy has called legislators into a second special session, recommending a middle school in his hometown of Wasilla as the venue.
His proclamation deals with the dividend paid to residents from the state’s oil-wealth fund, the Alaska Permanent Fund. That was one of two issues unresolved in the special session that ended Thursday. The other was the state capital budget.
Governors can call special sessions and lawmakers can call themselves into special session.
House Speaker Bryce Edgmon had earlier told reporters he didn’t see a special session taking place in Wasilla. He said he thought Juneau was a more productive environment.
Dunleavy, in a statement, said a change in venue is needed to refocus the conversation.
The Alaska Legislature has ended its special session, leaving unfinished work on the capital budget and Alaska Permanent Fund dividend that guarantees another special session.
The House adjourned first, followed by the Senate.
The Senate accepted the remnants of the capital budget that passed the House Wednesday. The House failed to reach the three-quarter threshold required to fund major provisions.
But Senate Finance Committee Co-chair Natasha von Imhof said there are other projects in the budget that are funded and recommended moving forward with those while pledging continued work on the rest of the capital budget in the coming weeks.
Gov. Mike Dunleavy can call lawmakers into a special session or they can call themselves into one. The Legislature has been meeting in regular or special session since mid-January.
The Alaska House has adjourned the special session, leaving unfinished work on the capital budget and Alaska Permanent Fund dividend that guarantees a future special session.
The Senate was expected to meet Thursday to decide whether to accept the House version of the capital budget that left major provisions unfunded.
Gov. Mike Dunleavy can call lawmakers into special session or lawmakers can call themselves into one.
During this special session, lawmakers passed legislation aimed at addressing crime. But they’ve been unable to agree on the dividend residents receive from earnings of the permanent fund, the state’s oil-wealth fund.
Dunleavy has said they should follow an existing dividend calculation, which would result in checks estimated around $3,000. The House and Senate have voted down such a proposal.