JUNEAU -- The Alaska Senate has unanimously passed a $9.5 billion state operating budget.
The Senate minority sought unsuccessfully to add $4.9 million to the budget for merit scholarships, rather to tie that money to a bill establishing a long-term funding source for the bill.
Senate Finance Committee co-chair Lyman Hoffman says the budget limits state agency growth to 3.6 percent. It also has $2 billion targeted for savings.
The bill is bound for a conference committee. House and Senate negotiators are expected to be named this week.
Still in the works is a state capital budget, expected to be unveiled in the Senate soon.