Gov. Michael J. Dunleavy, with his wife, Rose, anounces the proclamation of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day at the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. 2019 Community Celebration at St. Paul’s Catholic Church on Monday, Jan. 21, 2019. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Gov. Michael J. Dunleavy, with his wife, Rose, anounces the proclamation of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day at the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. 2019 Community Celebration at St. Paul’s Catholic Church on Monday, Jan. 21, 2019. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

State of the State still on for tonight

It will be Dunleavy’s first state of the state.

Gov. Mike Dunleavy is expected to deliver his first State of the State Address at 7 p.m. Tuesday, in the House chambers.

A release from the governor’s office says “Dunleavy will detail his vision for Alaska in a speech focused on fulfilling promises to Alaskans.” The State of the State will also focus on public safety, growing the economy, and his fiscal plan.

“I personally want to see the budget. I want to know what the plan is,” North Pole Republican Rep. Tammie Wilson said regarding the upcoming speech during a Monday news conference. “How are we going to do it differently? Not just a decrease in the budget but how are we going to make government different and more efficient. I think that’s what Alaskans really want to know.”

Rep. Chuck Kopp, an Anchorage Republican, added that he’s “anxious” and guessed many other Alaskans are anxious as well.

“We’ve heard there’s going to be some transformational approaches to delivering state services,” Kopp said.

As the procedure goes, the Speaker of the House invites the Senate into its chambers to hear the governor’s annual address. Representatives from both House caucuses are confident that House Speaker Pro Tempore Neal Foster, D-Nome, can make this happen. As a temporary presiding officer, Foster’s authority is limited. For the representatives, it’s a matter of figuring out the right way to invite the Senate to hear the governor’s speech.

“I just recently spoke with Rep. (Bryce) Edgemon on whether or not we need to suspend the rules in order for that to happen or can just agree on it,” said Rep. Dave Talerico during a Monday morning press conference. Talerico was tagged in November to be Speaker of the House should the Republican caucus prevail.

The House is scheduled to convene at 10 a.m. The House chambers have been mostly quiet since Thursday, when the House voted 35-4 to make Foster its temporary presiding officer. The House has conducted very limited business the first seven days of the session. The only other official business the House has accomplished is swearing in Rep. Sharon Jackson. Dunleavy appointed her to represent District 13, which covers Chugiak.

Kopp, like many of the representatives, is optimistic about a House majority forming soon.

“Every member of the House has the same goal in mind and that’s to improve the lives of very Alaskan,” Kopp said. “With the divisive climate in our nation with politics you might think Republicans and Democrats can’t get along. That’s not been my experience here in the capitol. The environment is cordial, professional.”

The Alaska Senate held a technical session at 1 p.m. Monday. This type of meeting is held to follow the rule of convening every three days, rather than to conduct official business. With only seven senators present, the session was closed within minutes.

The Senate will convene at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, ahead of Dunleavy’s State of the State Address.

The Alaska State Capitol was mostly quiet Monday since it was Martin Luther King Jr. Day.


• Contact reporter Kevin Baird at kbaird@juneauempire.com or call him at 523-2258.


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