Update on Special Session Week 2

Half of this 30-day special session is over.The big sticking point is the amount and how to pay for this and future Permanent Fund dividends (PFD). Thanks to those who responded to our last newsletter with their thoughts on the dividend. I believe in a “forever dividend.” That means growing our Permanent Fund savings while using some as originally intended: to support public services as oil dollars decline and some for the dividend. Finding that balance is the challenge.

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House passes crime bill; Special Session continues

t has been just over a week since the current special session was called. The first issue the House addressed was public safety. The House voted to pass the bipartisan conference committee crime bill, and I expect the Senate to pass it soon. Another big issue left to resolve is the operating budget, which the legislature needs to pass quickly (and the governor needs to sign) to provide…

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Governor Calls Special Session in Juneau; Crime Bill Nears Completion

Wednesday was the constitutional limit to a regular legislative session, the Legislature adjourned, and a special session in Juneau was called. In the days ahead, we will finalize the operating and capital budgets, vote on crime legislation, and address the permanent fund dividend. The work on each of these issues was nearly complete by the 121st day, but another inning is needed to cross the finish line and do it thoughtfully and thoroughly. The issues are simply too important to rush.

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House of Representatives votes to repeal and replace Senate Bill 91

House Bill 49, which passed 24-to-14, would enact changes that are tough on criminals and give police and prosecutors the tools they need to make Alaska safe. At the same time, the legislation helps victims receive justice and maintains a commitment to enacting policy changes based on objective information, data, and input from police officers, prosecutors, and public defenders.

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Senate Passes the Operating Budget

On Wednesday, the Senate passed its version of the operating budget. The House did not concur with the changes made, and a conference committee is being appointed to resolve the differences between the House and Senate budgets. The conference committee’s version will likely blend together ideas from both versions, and then it will go back to the House and Senate for a final vote before it goes to the Governor for final approval.

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