Rep. Tammie Wilson, R-North Pole, listens to David Teal, director of Legislative Finance, as he explains budget shortfalls to the Senate Finance Committee at the Capitol on Friday, July 19, 2019. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Rep. Tammie Wilson, R-North Pole, listens to David Teal, director of Legislative Finance, as he explains budget shortfalls to the Senate Finance Committee at the Capitol on Friday, July 19, 2019. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Capitol Live: Legislature gathers in Juneau for first time since split

Live updates from the Capitol.

Many of the questions asked were regarding where funds were coming from, what funds would be swept, and whether or not federal funds would be captured. There were several questions regarding deadlines for federal funds which the representatives from OMB were not able to answer.

Committee adjourns until Saturday at 1 p.m.

Rep. Gary Knopp, R-Kenai, right, questions Donna Arduin, Director of the Office of Management and Budget, center, as Rep. Bart LeBon, R-Fairbanks, listens during a House Finance Committee meeting on HB 2002 at the Capitol on Thursday, July 18, 2019.(Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Rep. Gary Knopp, R-Kenai, right, questions Donna Arduin, Director of the Office of Management and Budget, center, as Rep. Bart LeBon, R-Fairbanks, listens during a House Finance Committee meeting on HB 2002 at the Capitol on Thursday, July 18, 2019.(Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

1:36 p.m.

Several representatives are asking about federal matching dollars, and what is the deadline to capture those funds. Harbour says that there is enough money in this bill to capture all of the funds allotted to Alaska from the federal government.

1:32 p.m.

In response to a question from Knopp, Harbour says that the numbers are not yet final, but there’s about $200 million for funding programs in this bill.

Rep. Gary Knopp, R-Kenai, mentions to Vice Chair Jennifer Johnston, R-Anchorage, that the title of the bill includes the capital budget, in response to Arduin comments that those funds were not covered by this bill.

1:26 p.m.

Rep. Bart Lebon, R-Fairbanks, is asking Harbour about funding for certain programs for the University Maintenance Program. Harbour answers that there are funds for the program, but not as much as originally appropriated by the legislature. She adds that she was not present during the discussion for the determination of what funds would be cut and why.

1:23 p.m.

Rep. Andy Josephson, D-Anchorage, begins questioning the OMB representatives on the administration’s policy on using certain funds, such as PCE, to pay for other programs.

OMB Director Donna Arduin takes the floor to explain the administration’s thinking. Arduin says that the administration is trying to find funds for programs and to obtain federal matching funds.

1:14 p.m.

Foster asks Harbour to explain what’s happening with Power Cost Equalization program.

Harbour says that because there was not a two-thirds vote for the capital budget, the funds for the PCE will be swept.

Rep. Neal Foster, D-Nome, asks if some of the $1 billion for the PCE is being used to fund other programs.

Harbour replies that HB 2002 provides money from the Unrestricted General Fund for the PCE program, so that money is replaced.

1:06 p.m.

The committee is called to order to hear a presentation on HB 2002.

Paloma Harbour, Budget Director of the Office of Management and Budget (who was present at yesterday’s Senate Finance meeting) begins the presentation with a run down of capital and operating funds.

1:03 p.m.

The House Finance Committee is meeting at 1 p.m. to discuss HB 2001 and HB 2002. HB 2001 is the bill the House and Senate Finance Committees have been meeting on throughout the week, and would restore all of the money cut from the state budget by Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s vetoes, but only allocate a $1,600 Permanent Fund Dividend. The House committee heard public comment on HB 2001 Monday to Wednesday, where dozens of Alaskans gave impassioned speeches both for and against the bill.

The Office of Management and Budget will be giving a presentation to the House committee, the PowerPoint used in that discussion can be found here.

12:50 p.m.

Senate Finance is recessed to call of the chair. Once again the Sentate Finance Room is full of legislators and spectators working their way through complex legal and financial language. Documents from this meeting can be found on the Alaska Legislature’s website.

Noon

“Could the governor veto partial amounts of a reverse sweep?” — Sen. Wielechowski, D-Anchorage.

“I don’t believe he can,” Teal says, but that’s a legal question.

11:56 a.m.

“If you had a super majority vote (three-fourths, or 45) many of these problems would go away,” Teal says, referring to the legislature’s ability to vote for a reverse sweep.

It is difficult, Teal says, to determine what the effects of the the sweep will be on the Constitutional Budget Reserve.

Teal says that a previous court case said that the legislature must be involved in appropriations.

Teal is explaining the details of how certain funds are appropriated and from which funds.

Legislative Finance Division Director David Teal is explaining to the Senate Finance Committee details of the sweep, in a continuation of the conversation which took place Thursday afternoon.

11:50 a.m.

Rep. Laddie Shaw, R-Anchorage, tells the house that he will be giving the eulogy for a constituent of a colleague. This man being eulogized was a former Navy SEAL who trained the Apollo 11 astronauts, the 50th anniversary of which is this weekend.

Most members of the house rap their desks in support.

11:29 a.m.

Rep. David Eastman, R-Wasilla, requests to speak on “law.” Eastman describes a scene from a current television program called “Rebellion” about an Irish rebellion during WWI. He quotes a line from the series saying the law only has power when people believe in it.

He goes on to question the legality of some of the actions that have taken place over the past few weeks. He questions whether the legislature was right to call itself to Juneau.

He says that he, nor his district was given any voice in the decision because the majority of the legislature met in Juneau and he was marked absent.

We ought to follow the laws, he said, which he says he did because he followed the governor’s proclamation to meet in Wasilla.

11:24 a.m.

The governor’s appropriation bill, House Bill 2002 is entered into the record and it is announced that it will be discussed at the House Finance Committee at 1 p.m. Friday, July 19, 2019.

The amendment to the governor’s proclamation calling the legislature to Juneau is read across the floor.

11:20 a.m.

There was a disagreement over the certification of the journal, because some members of the legislature had met in Wasilla last week. Members voted to certify the journal 20 yeas to 11 nays.

11:07 a.m.

Seven absent members are excused by the house. Only Rep. Sara Rasmussen, R-Anchorage, remains absent.

House comes to order, 31 members present, one excused, eight absent.

11 a.m.

The Senate convened with 16 members present, one excused, three absent, to discuss technical details.

Sens. Jesse Kiehl, D-Juneau, Elvi Gray-Jackson, D-Anchorage and Bert Stedman, R-Sitka, asked to be excused from future calls in the coming weeks.

The Senate has adjourned until Saturday at 11 a.m.

10:16 a.m.

The House floor session has been delayed for an undetermined amount of time.

9:56 a.m.

Legislators have been arriving in capital since Gov. Mike Dunleavy amended his proclamation for a special session Wednesday, saying the remainder of the session was to take place in Juneau.

Because only some members of the legislature were able to arrive in Juneau on such short notice, no legislative action was taken Thursday. The Senate met for a technical session, which lasted less than 10 minutes.

Thursday’s highlight was the meeting of the Senate Finance Committee, which met with representatives from the Office of Management and Budget as well as the Legislative Finance Division to try and understand the details and impacts of “the sweep.”

Several state accounts are emptied at the end of each fiscal year, and their funds moved to the Constitutional Budget Reserve. Normally the legislature would pass a vote restoring these funds to their respective accounts as part of their regular end of session business. However, because of this year’s legislative deadlock, that vote didn’t happen, leaving several appropriations accounts without funding.

Matters are complicated this year by Dunleavy adding several accounts to list of sweepable funds. In yesterday’s Senate Finance meeting, members of the OMB and LFD disagreed on which accounts were legally able to be swept.

Both the House and Senate have floor sessions scheduled for 10 a.m. today.

Read our coverage from yesterday here: Capitol Live: Senate Finance Committee meets to discuss HB 2001


• Contact reporter Peter Segall at 523-2228 or psegall@juneauempire.com.


More in News

(Juneau Empire file photo)
Aurora forecast for the week of March 4

These forecasts are courtesy of the University of Alaska Fairbanks’ Geophysical Institute… Continue reading

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire file photo)
Police calls for Saturday, March 2, 2024

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire file photo)
Police calls for Friday, March 1, 2024

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire file photo)
Police calls for Thursday, Feb. 29, 2024

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

The Alaska Supreme Court is seen on Thursday, Feb. 8, in Juneau. (Photo by James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)
Alaska Supreme Court decides key question: Who is an Alaskan?

An Alaskan is someone physically present in the state who intends to… Continue reading

Pink salmon are seen in an undated photo. (NOAA Fisheries photo)
New salmon study adds to evidence that pink salmon could be crowding out sockeye

A new analysis of nearly 25,000 fish scales offers more evidence that… Continue reading

Liana Wallace offers a water blessing during a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Augustus G. Brown Swimming Pool on Friday following nearly a year of renovations. The pool is scheduled to reopen for public use on Tuesday. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Ribbon-cutting for Augustus G. Brown Swimming Pool a blessing for longtime users after 11-month renovation

Infrastructure upgrades, new locker rooms and student tile art in lobby greet visitors at ceremony.

The Alaska State Capitol in Juneau is seen on Friday, Feb. 23. (James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)
Alaska Legislature plans March 12 vote on Gov. Dunleavy’s executive orders

Order giving governor full control of Alaska Marine Highway Operations board among six scheduled.

Brenda Josephson, a Haines resident, testifies in favor of a bill setting statewide standards for municipal property assessors during a state Senate Community and Regional Affairs Committee hearing Thursday. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Statewide standards for municipal property assessments sought in bill by Juneau lawmaker

Some residents say legislation doesn’t go far enough, want limits on annual valuation increases.

Most Read