Alaska Legislature

Gov. Dunleavy postpones start of lawmakers’ 4th special session to Monday

JUNEAU — Gov. Mike Dunleavy has postponed the start of the Alaska Legislature’s next special session to Monday. The session was originally scheduled to begin Friday, but legislators had asked for a small delay.

Senate President Peter Micciche, R-Soldotna, said legislators were grateful for the change — some are in training with national organizations like the Council of State Governments and the National Conference of State Legislatures. In addition, many lawmakers fly from Juneau to their home districts on weekends, and he said a Friday start could have caused some members to fly to Juneau, attend for the day, then leave again.

“If we’re going to go down (to Juneau), I would like for it to be productive,” Micciche said. “Monday made more sense. The governor agreed, then there we are: Oct. 4.”

Dunleavy signed a new special session proclamation at 4 p.m. Tuesday.

Among other items, it says the Legislature will take up “an act making appropriations for a supplemental 2021 Permanent Fund dividend” in the fourth special session.

The state is scheduled to pay an $1,100 dividend starting the week of Oct. 11. Dunleavy has supported a $2,350 payment and a new formula for paying future dividends.

The proclamation calls for the Legislature to discuss that new formula or a similar one.

The governor’s proposal hasn’t advanced this year because of its cost, and Speaker of the House Louise Stutes, R-Kodiak, said changing the result will require additional action.

“If he wants a larger PFD, he’s going to have to come to the table and put some kind of revenue measure out there and support it. Because with his plan, as is, it’s pretty clear, that it leaves pretty near a doggone billion-dollar hole in the budget,” Stutes said.

The adjusted proclamation calls for the Legislature to consider “an act or acts relating to measures to increase state revenues,” but it wasn’t immediately clear whether the governor would propose those, or whether he would rely on ideas from legislators.

Dunleavy held a cabinet meeting in Soldotna on Tuesday. Talking to local reporters at the meeting, the governor said he intends to offer legislation to support a fiscal plan proposed by a bipartisan, bicameral working group earlier this year.

That group said the Legislature should work toward a dividend similar to the one proposed by Dunleavy.

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly described when this year’s Permanent Fund dividends will be paid. Payments will go out starting the week of Oct. 11, not necessarily starting on Oct. 11.

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