Gov. Mike Dunleavy has postponed the next special session of the Alaska Legislature by two weeks after lawmakers requested more time to prepare.
The session will begin Aug. 16 in Juneau, and its agenda includes a change to the Permanent Fund dividend payment formula, the state’s subsidy for rural electrical prices, measures to increase state revenue, and a proposed constitutional amendment that would tighten the state spending cap.
“A full 2021 dividend is still of paramount importance for many members of our caucus,” said Rep. Kevin McCabe, R-Big Lake, and a member of the House’s Republican minority minority. “New constitutional amendments regarding spending or future taxes are incredibly important, but until we tackle how we’ll treat the dividend, going forward, I doubt we’ll make much progress.”
A group of eight legislators, including McCabe, has been meeting regularly in public and private to find agreement on potential options before the session begins. The committee has not yet advanced any proposals.
Public testimony on possible options will be accepted in Anchorage, Wasilla, Fairbanks and Juneau. Emails are also being accepted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In May, Dunleavy scheduled the session to begin Aug. 2, but on Wednesday afternoon, the leaders of the Legislature’s four largest voting blocks asked him to postpone it.
In a one-paragraph note to the governor, the Senate president, Senate minority leader, House speaker and House minority leader said a two-week delay will allow legislators and staff to make hard preparations and provide “additional time for fiscal plan items under consideration to be reviewed.”
Speaker of the House Louise Stutes, R-Kodiak had asked for a one-week delay instead, but that idea was not accepted. Rep. Sara Hannan, D-Juneau, said the different request was because it worked better for House majority lawmakers’ schedules.