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Alaska Legislature

State judge dismisses special-session lawsuit against Gov. Mike Dunleavy

Lawmakers meet in a gym on July 8, 2019 at Wasilla Middle School, where Gov. Mike Dunleavy sought to convene the Alaska Legislature in special session. A superior court judge has dismissed a lawsuit that could have resolved an impasse that snarled the Legislature and governor. (AP Photo/Mark Thiessen)

A year after Gov. Mike Dunleavy and the Alaska Legislature fought over the location of a legislative special session, a state Superior Court judge has thrown out a lawsuit that could have clarified the issue.

In an order issued Tuesday, Judge Josie Garton said the case was moot and should be dismissed.

Last summer, Dunleavy called a special session in Wasilla, but a majority of lawmakers rejected that call and instead started the session in Juneau. The governor later changed his special-session call when it became apparent that lawmakers would not budge.

State law allows a special session to be held anywhere in the state and for the governor to pick the location, but Plaintiffs Kevin McCoy and Mary Geddes sued, arguing that the law violates the Alaska Constitution.

Garton said the lawsuit was not appropriate at this time, because the governor’s call for a Wasilla special session had no effect. The Legislature did not pass any legislation in Wasilla, or in Juneau while the location was in question. She said the constitutionality of the law could be raised if the Legislature attempts to change it or the situation arises again.

McCoy and Geddes said in a written statement that they were disappointed by the judge’s decision and are still deciding whether they want to appeal.

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