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Anchorage rally to urge lawmakers to override budget vetoes

Some three dozen organizations, including the band Portugal. The Man, will come together in Anchorage on Tuesday in the latest of many public efforts to convince lawmakers to override Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s budget vetoes.

The vetoes, amounting to $444 million in cuts to state services, include deep slashes to the University of Alaska, Medicaid spending, and the Village Public Safety Officer program, among several other programs.

The vetoes have already sparked numerous, impassioned town hall testimonies and organized lobbying efforts ahead of a special legislative session scheduled to begin on Monday. Any override vote the Legislature takes on the vetoes — assuming it convenes Monday — has to take place by Friday.

Tuesday’s rally, which is organized by the University of Alaska Anchorage student government and a coalition of organizations that jointly call themselves “Save Our State,” is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. at the Alaska Airlines Center on the UAA campus.

Although many of the 30 to 40 groups involved in the rally are childcare and education-focused — organizations like thread Alaska, the Alaska Children’s Trust, and Great Alaska Schools — event organizer Trevor Storrs said the demonstrators are not lobbying for votes on any one particular line item in the budget.

Instead, they’re asking for a sweeping overrride of all the vetoes, Storrs said.

“These vetoes as they’re proposed are harmful to our state, and they will cause us to go into recession and lose everything we’ve been working for,” Storrs said.

Among the groups involved in the rally is the the popular band Portugal. The Man, which is Storrs said will both kick off the event and play it out.