The House has voted for HB 2003, which appropriates a $1,600 PFD. This bill is subject to veto by Gov. Mike Dunleavy who has made a $3,000 dividend a priority. If the bill is vetoed, it is not clear there are enough votes for an override.
House stands at adjournment until 10 a.m. Friday, July 26.
Eastman’s amendment fails to pass, 10-20.
In closing remarks, Eastman says that those that wrote the 1982 did not set an arbitrary amount, and that a majority of Alaskans want a full PFD according to that statute.
Members speak back and forth in support of opposition of the amendment. Representatives on both sides talk about what is “financially responsible.” There are conflicting statues determining how much the PFD should be. One is a 1982 law that dictates $3,000, which is the law cited by supporters of the amendment. Another law dictates that the PFD will be allocated as a percent of market value.
Rep. David Eastman, R-Wasilla, enters an amendment that would appropriate with money drawn from the earnings reserve account. Several members make objections.
Rep. Delena Johnson, R-Palmer, once again makes a reference to the film “Groundhog Day” referencing the repetition of similar situations to past days.
Supporters of the amendment say that Eastman’s plan follows the law, Rep Sarah Vance, R-Homer, says that the math being used to justify the $1,600 PFD “isn’t entirely accurate.” Both sides trade accusations of peddling “false narratives.”
The House Committee substitute bill is entered on the floor. Rep. Tammie Wilson, R- North Pole, objects to the motion, asking that the difference in language between this bill and previous bills be explained. Rep. Johnston explains and the objection is withdrawn.
House convenes with 30 members present.
Committee adjourns until 1 p.m. Thursday. The bill appropriating a $1,600 PFD will go to the house floor. If it does pass, it will be subject to veto and it’s not clear there will be enough votes in the legislature to override the governor’s vetoes.
Representative Dan Ortiz, I-Ketchikan, substitutes this bill for the previous version of HB 2003. The vote passes, 7 yeas, 2 nays.
The committee votes to add the amendment, it fails, 3 yeas, 7 nays.
Representative Neal Foster, D-Nome, says that over 80 percent of the public testimony was in favor of a reduced dividend in order to fund the myriad programs in the state.
Committee members Gary Knopp, R-Kenai, and Bart Lebon, R-Fairbanks, both oppose the amendment, saying that it would be financially irresponsible to appropriate a full PFD.
Rep. Cathy Tilton, R-Wasilla, asks to remove language which would fund only a $1,600 PFD, she and Sullivan-Leonard support an amendment appropriating a full-statutory PFD.
People are tired of asking for their full PFD, Sullivan-Leonard said. We heard testimony by the hundreds from Alaskans asking for the full PFD, Sullivan-Leonard said.
Sullivan-Leonard asks how previous administrations allocated funds. Ryder answers that she is not the best person to answer this question, but she believes that the money has been allocated as percent of market value (POMV) of the value of the Permanent Fund. She believes that amount has generally been five percent.
Amanda Ryder, Legislative Finance Division, joins Ms. Shine on the floor.
Sullivan-Leonard is asking where the funds come from. Johnston explains that this bill appropriates a PFD while maintaining a balanced budget.
Erin Shine, staff for Johnston is called to the floor to explain the breakdown of funds for the PFD to Rep. Colleen Sullivan-Leonard, R-Wasilla.
Late Wednesday afternoon, after several hours in session on the House floor, House Finance Committee Co-Chair Rep. Jennifer Johnston, R-Anchorage, called a meeting of the committee to discuss House Bill 2003, which appropriates a Permanent Fund Dividend.
• Contact reporter Peter Segall at 523-2228 or email@example.com