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No gas-line veto override vote in sight

  • Author: Nathaniel Herz
  • Updated: September 28, 2016
  • Published April 19, 2015

JUNEAU -- The Alaska Legislature appeared increasingly unlikely to vote on overriding Gov. Bill Walker's veto of a bill from House Republican legislative leaders designed to thwart his plans for a state-controlled natural gas pipeline from the North Slope.

Walker vetoed the bill Friday, and the state Constitution requires the Legislature to consider an override "immediately." A spokesman for the bill's sponsor House Speaker Mike Chenault, R-Nikiski, had said the override attempt would be most likely to occur during a joint House-Senate session Sunday afternoon for votes on Walker's cabinet and board appointees.

The confirmation session, however, concluded after more than five hours without an override vote on the bill, House Bill 132.

Senate President Kevin Meyer, R-Anchorage, supported Chenault's bill but acknowledged in an interview Sunday evening that the measure appeared to lack the support to get past the veto. Chenault would need 40 of the 60 combined members of the House and Senate for a successful override, and the bill got 37 when it passed initially -- though one member of Chenault's Republican majority caucus was absent.

"I don't think the votes have changed," Meyer said. "We were a couple votes short anyway."

But legislative leaders scheduled House and Senate meetings Monday, the 91st day of what was supposed to be a 90-day session. Chenault said Sunday evening that as long as the Legislature remained in session, it could take up an override vote.