We are on track to bring the 2018 legislative session to a successful conclusion very soon. As I write this, votes on the final ver-sions of the Operating and Capital Budgets are still pending, and many bills by individu-al lawmakers are passing across both the House and Senate floors.Read more
The principal components of an adjournment agreement are becoming evi-dent as progress continued this week on several “big ticket” bills.
On Wednesday the House/Senate Conference Committee for SB 26—the Permanent Fund restructuring bill—released a draft committee substitute that is now being used as a basis for compromise discussions toward support for final passage.
There were good signs this week that the Legislature is on track to finish the 2018 session within the time limit allowed by the State Constitution. Produc-tive negotiations continue between all concerned to reach the set of agree-ments necessary to reach adjournment.Read more
On Wednesday this week the House voted to concur with changes made in the Senate to the Education early funding bill we sent over to them in Febru-ary. This means school districts across the state can better plan for the com-ing year and also avoid the frustration and turmoil of teacher lay-off notic-es that would have had to go out if funding were still pending.Read more
Today the Senate appointed its members for the Operating Budget Confer-ence Committee. They will join members the House appointed at about 9:30 p.m. last night. The six-person committee can now turn to working out com-promises between differences in the two versions of the budget passed by each body.Read more
While at this time of session we expect many differences between the House and Senate versions of the Operating Budget, there is already one major component of the bill that has been agreed on. Yesterday, Senate leaders indicated that they will uphold the $1600 amount for the FY19 PFD that the House included in its version of the budget. This is a $500 increase over the FY18 PFD. We hope this increase will benefit not only individual Alaskans but also the broader state economy.Read more
Debate on the Operating Budget this week reached a new intensity when on Monday an amendment to fund the first full Permanent Fund Dividend in two years passed on the House floor.Read more
For four straight days (and counting) the House has been debating several dozen proposed amendments to the FY19 Operating Budget. By far the greater number of them were brought forward by the House Republican caucus, and a large percentage of them have targeted funding for pro-grams and services that, in my opinion, have already been cut to the bone in recent years.Read more