Peter Micciche was first elected to the Senate in 2012 and was Senate president this year and last.
Supporters say the measure contains programs proven in other states that will boost Alaska’s low student reading scores. But critics say the bill was rushed and doesn’t adequately account for the needs of rural school districts.
The court affirmed a lower court ruling that the board tasked with redrawing the state’s political boundaries “again engaged in unconstitutional political gerrymandering.”
“Alaska took a gargantuan step forward in updating our laws,” said John Skidmore, deputy attorney general for the Criminal Division of the Alaska Department of Law.
Lawmakers’ failure to act means that unlimited sums can continue flowing to gubernatorial, legislative and municipal candidates. But one legislator is already discussing a citizens initiative to change that.
A day after the Legislature wrapped up its session, the governor said he would not immediately call a special session to increase the dividend.
If agreed to by Gov. Mike Dunleavy, the compromise $2,550 Permanent Fund dividend will be one of the highest in state history after correction for inflation.
Supporters of the bill say it is an overdue step that would create opportunities for the state and tribes to work together.
A conference committee twice barricaded the door during meetings Tuesday to keep members from leaving as a deadline for budget passage draws near.
A lack of agreement on the size of Permanent Fund dividend threatens to derail the Alaska Legislature’s plan to end their work by a Wednesday deadline.
Brewery and distillery taprooms will be able to stay open until 9 p.m.
The vote on whether to accept the Senate-passed budget failed Saturday 22-18, and the measure now goes to a House-Senate conference committee.
The House Finance Committee held a hearing on bill as the legislative session nears its end.
The House is now scheduled to vote Saturday on whether to concur with the Senate’s version of the bill, which includes $5,500 in cash payments to Alaskans and could drain state savings.
Supporters say the bill formally recognizing tribes in Alaska is an overdue step that would create opportunities for the state and tribes to work together.
The Senate-passed version of the budget includes a $4,200 Permanent Fund dividend plus proposed $1,300 energy assistance checks — at a total cost of more than $3.5 billion. House members said they’re being barraged with messages from constituents for and against accepting that version of the budget.
The bill also bars schools from adopting dress codes that prevent wearing of traditional tribal regalia at graduation ceremonies.
The budget heads next to the House. If it remains unchanged, the payments could leave the state with no financial cushion even amid a revenue windfall.
The payments to Alaskans include both a full statutory $4,200 Permanent Fund dividend and $1,300 one-time energy relief checks.
The Alaska Senate voted Monday for a $1,300 “energy relief” payment in addition to a dividend payment for residents this year.
State lawmakers are running out of time this session to pass legislation aimed at resolving the annual debate over what size dividend should be paid to residents from the Alaska Permanent Fund.
The Alaska Legislature on Wednesday confirmed without opposition three Cabinet members appointed by Gov. Mike Dunleavy.
The bill, which passed 36-2, next goes to the Senate with two weeks left in the legislative session.