SB2002 will be taken up again later this month in effort to achieve supermajority support
JUNEAU – For the second day in a row, legislation that would fund the capital budget ahead of a key July 31 deadline to receive $1 billion in federal funding for highway and construction projects fell short of achieving necessary supermajority support.
Senate Bill 2002 passed 29-to-7 today, just one vote shy of a three-quarter supermajority. That represents four additional supporters for the capital budget compared to yesterday.
With the special session ongoing, the legislation remains alive. House Speaker Bryce Edgmon (I-Dillingham) committed today that the House of Representatives will, by the end of July, hold a vote to rescind previous action on S.B. 2002 to get the thirtieth vote, either from members who initially voted no or from the four absent members.
“This bill not passing is having immediate impacts, and Alaskans are understandably nervous and angry as they witness continuing gridlock in Juneau. Jobs, scholarships, and vital services are all on the line,” Speaker Edgmon said. “We are not giving up hope. We thank everyone who voted for the capital budget and for the growing commitment to find compromise on this issue and the many other challenges ahead.”
S.B. 2002 has far-reaching implications well beyond the potential loss of federal highway funding. The bill also restores programs that provide university scholarships to 12,000 students, keep rural energy rates down through Power Cost Equalization, finance state efforts to prevent oil spills, and provide life-saving vaccines to Alaskans.
The governor took unprecedented action to zero out all of those programs, as well as funding for organizations that help domestic violence victims and homeless shelters. A new law that repealed and replaced Senate Bill 91 with tough on crime provisions is also currently unfunded as a result of the capital budget stalling.
Communications Director, Alaska House Majority