Alaska Legislature

Alaska legislators avoid pay cut as bill becomes law

JUNEAU — Alaska lawmakers will not have their pay cut.

On Tuesday, Gov. Mike Dunleavy declined to veto a bill that blocks a pay cut proposed by the state’s public salary commission. The bill became law without the governor’s signature.

In January, the five-member commission cut legislators’ daily expense payments, commonly called per diem, from $307 per day to $100 per day and raised salaries from $50,400 to $64,000 per year to partially compensate.

The result would have been a gross cut of about $11,000 for a legislator who requests expense payments for every day of a 121-day regular session, from $87,547 to $76,100. Lawmakers needed only three days to unanimously pass a bill rejecting the cut.

“It is clear lawmakers will not accept the commission’s recommendations for salaries and per diem and want a new compensation package drafted for their consideration,” said Jeff Turner, the governor’s deputy communications director, in a prepared statement.

“The amount of compensation is ultimately an issue for the commission and lawmakers to agree on. Gov. Dunleavy has decided to allow the bill to pass without his signature so that process can take place,” Turner said.

The unanimous margin indicated enough support for a veto override if the governor had vetoed it.

Last year, Dunleavy vetoed funding for the Legislature’s 2022 per diem payments; the governor’s supplemental budget proposes to restore that funding.

James Brooks

James Brooks was a Juneau-based reporter for the ADN from 2018 to May 2022.