JUNEAU – The Alaska Legislature announced today it will convene in Juneau on July 8th for the 2nd special session, with the majority of meetings to be held in Anchorage.
House Speaker Bryce Edgmon, I-Dillingham, and Senate President Cathy Giessel, R-Anchorage, released the following statement.
“Funding the 2019 Permanent Fund dividend is critical to Alaskans. However, the long-term issues about the sustainability and future of the Permanent Fund must also be addressed. Unfortunately, the Governor’s special session proclamation restricts discussion solely to the amount of this year’s PFD.
“Importantly, the Governor’s proclamation also fails to include the Fiscal Year 2020 capital budget. If the capital budget is not finalized in July, Alaska’s private sector industries could be devastated by forfeiting nearly $1 billion in federal highway and aviation projects because required state matching dollars were not provided.
“For the reasons outlined, we believe the Legislature should call itself into session. We intend to hold floor sessions in Juneau, the seat of government established in the Alaska Constitution, and hold most committee hearings in the Anchorage Legislative Information Office.
“This approach would save hundreds of thousands of dollars and provide in-person access to Alaskans on the road system, while also utilizing facilities designed for legislative proceedings and providing Alaskans who are unable to attend in person the ability to participate and follow along as lawmakers consider these crucial issues.
“Although we are one vote short of the forty vote threshold to call ourselves into our own special session agenda, the majority of legislators in both bodies considers it our right to determine the location and venue best equipped to conduct business on the Governor’s special session call, while providing the most access to as many Alaskans possible.
“We respectfully urge the Governor to add to his call the capital budget and long-term issues relating to the future of the Permanent Fund.”