Legislature to hold vote over governor's operating budget vetoes in joint floor session

Published: Jul. 8, 2019 at 2:59 PM AKDT
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Following Gov. Mike Dunleavy cutting $444 million from the budget that passed the Alaska Legislature earlier this year, legislators will hold a joint floor session later this week to allow members to vote for or against the governor's operating budget vetoes.

Per a joint release from House Speaker Bryce Edgmon and Senate President Cathy Giessel, the House and Senate scheduled the meeting shortly after gaveling in on Monday, the beginning of this year's second special session.

“Alaskans now understand the gravity of our budget dilemma,” said Senate President Cathy Giessel (R-Alaska), in the release. “Seniors, college students, and victims of domestic violence are just a few of the Alaskans who are impacted. Wednesday will be legislators’ chance to approve or reject the governor's budget vetoes.”

House Speaker Bryce Edgmon (I-Dillingham) said the governor’s budget "threatens to send Alaska into deep economic recession," and fails to address the underlying problems that created budget challenges in the past.

“The cut to the University of Alaska is thoughtless and anti-business," he said. "Taking reliable income from financially vulnerable elders is cruel and unnecessary. Stepping away from the state’s commitment to help pay for school construction is a broken promise and a hidden tax increase. I urge lawmakers to stand together on Wednesday and reject these damaging vetoes.”

According to the Alaska Constitution, lawmakers are only allowed five days to attempt to override a governor’s budget vetoes. An override of individual line items or collective rejection of all vetoes requires a three-quarters' vote of agreement from the legislative body.

The vote on the veto override will be on Wednesday at 11:30 a.m. in the State Capitol building.

Currently there are fourteen of twenty senators in Juneau, and 23 of forty house members, which is not enough to allow for a veto override.

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