JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) – Alaska Senate Republicans have passed legislation proposing a state spending limit, despite criticism from Democrats who say it’s toothless and may be unconstitutional.

Friday’s vote proceeded without minority Democrats, who protested the treatment of some of their proposed amendments.

The bill is a priority for Republicans, who see it as a way to control costs. It proposes a $4.1-billion limit on unrestricted general fund spending that would be adjusted for inflation.

Spending exempted from the limit includes capital projects, funding for a state disaster, required debt obligations and Alaska Permanent Fund dividends.

Democratic Sen. Bill Wielechowski says the measure is ridden with loopholes. He also cited a legal memo that says it’s inconsistent with a constitutional appropriation limit and could be found unconstitutional.

The bill now goes to the House.

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