Second special session starts in Juneau with state government shutdown one week away

 The Alaska State Capitol
The Alaska State Capitol (KTUU)
Published: Jun. 23, 2021 at 12:04 PM AKDT|Updated: Jun. 23, 2021 at 12:07 PM AKDT
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JUNEAU, Alaska (KTUU) - A second special session started in Juneau on Wednesday with Alaska’s state government set to shut down in one week.

Gov. Mike Dunleavy has said he can’t sign a “defective budget” passed by the Legislature due to a failed procedural vote. Once a bill passes, it becomes effective 90 days later unless two-thirds of the House of Representatives and the Senate vote to change it.

The next fiscal year begins on July 1. Without an operating budget, Alaska would face an unprecedented state government shutdown. Thousands of public employees would be laid off and some state services would be impacted until a budget passes.

Jeff Turner, a spokesperson for the governor’s office, said last Thursday that a 2017 list on the impacts of a shutdown is obsolete and that a new list of impacts is being finalized.

On Monday, Alaska Attorney General Treg Taylor filed a lawsuit against a legislative agency to clarify the question of the effective date clause issue. Oral arguments have been scheduled for June 29.

Some legislators have argued the governor could disburse the funds on time to avert a shutdown, but that he’s choosing not to as a bargaining chip to push for a higher Permanent Fund dividend. The Legislature approved a $525 dividend that could double with the passage of a separate three-quarter vote.

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