The Alaska House passed legislation Tuesday calling for an $1,100 dividend to residents, but there are different interpretations as to whether much of the money that would be used for the checks is available.
The bill next goes to the Senate.
The measure calls for spending $730.5 million, with $330 million from the statutory budget reserve fund. That’s where a recent court decision and a failed vote earlier this year come into play.
The fund was long considered among the accounts subject to being swept into the constitutional budget reserve to repay it for money that’s been used from it. Lawmakers can reverse the sweep and restore funds to their original accounts but earlier this year failed to secure the votes to do so.
Megan Wallace, director of Legislative Legal Services, told a Senate committee Monday that a recent court decision suggests the statutory reserve is not subject to the sweep.
Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s office contends otherwise.
“The fund has been swept,” Dunleavy spokesperson Jeff Turner said by email. He said the Legislature can change that with a three-quarter vote.
The dividend would be about $585 if the statutory budget reserve funds were deemed swept, according to the Legislative Finance Division director.