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Alaska Legislature

Alaska Legislature to consider overriding a pair of Dunleavy budget vetoes Friday

  • Author: James Brooks
  • Updated: January 23
  • Published January 23

Speaker of the House Bryce Edgmon, I-Dillingham, explains Thursday that the Alaska House and Senate will meet Friday morning in joint session to consider overriding some of Gov. Mike Dunleavy's budget vetoes. (James Brooks / ADN)

JUNEAU — The Alaska Legislature will meet in joint session Friday to consider overriding a pair of vetoes made by Gov. Mike Dunleavy last year.

“There will be a joint session tomorrow at 10:30 a.m. called by the presiding officers with the consent of our majority caucuses. The purpose will be to consider overriding budget items,” said Speaker of the House Bryce Edgmon, I-Dillingham.

According to members of the Alaska House’s coalition majority, two items will be on the agenda: school bond debt payments to cities and boroughs, and $5 million in funding for the Alaska Marine Highway System.

Collectively, the overrides amount to about $75 million.

Edgmon said those items are “what we could get support for at this time,” but once in joint session, “anybody can bring up an item."

Support from 45 of the Legislature’s 60 members is needed to override a veto.

“As far as I can tell, there isn’t any interest,” House Minority Leader Lance Pruitt said when asked before the announcement whether anyone in his 16-member caucus is in favor of overrides.

After the announcement, he said he has not taken a poll of members but still believes members of his caucus do not support overrides.

However, Edgmon said, “You never know until you get into a joint session what the final tally is going to be, but we felt we have significant support.”

Last summer, the Legislature tried unsuccessfully to override Dunleavy’s decision to veto more than $400 million from the state operating budget. At the time, 22 lawmakers were attempting to call a special session in Wasilla and there were not 45 legislators present in Juneau for the override vote.

Lawmakers subsequently passed legislation that would have reversed the governor’s vetoes, and the governor vetoed only half of the new legislation. The governor’s ultimate veto tally was about $205 million, atop $147 million already cut by the Legislature.