The last piece of legislation to come out of the special session will go to the desk of Gov. Mike Dunleavy today.
House Bill 2001, which contains money for the state’s operating budget but also appropriates a Permanent Fund Dividend of $1,600 will either be signed or vetoed by Dunleavy in the coming weeks.
In a press release Tuesday evening, the governor’s office said that Dunleavy plans on signing SB 2002, the capital budget, into law. The release adds that the governor will, “exercise his line-item veto authority where necessary.”
That bill provides the funds necessary for securing the $1 billion in federal matching funds for transportation and infrastructure.
Senate Bill 2002 also reverses “the sweep,” providing funds for several programs including Power Cost Equalization, Alaska Performance Scholarship and the WWAMI program, the University of Washington’s multi-state medical education program.
In regards to HB 2001, the release says that the governor, “largely considers a vast majority of the (fiscal year 2020) budget settled.”
The press release does not address the PFD amount.
In a letter responding to a suggestion from legislative leadership for a third special session, the governor said that he is “weighing all options available … to continue the dialogue and work with the legislature on these matters.”
Senate President Cathy Giessel, R-Anchorage, and House Speaker Bryce Edgmon, I-Dillingham, sent a letter to the governor’s office on July 31 asking for another special session in order to discuss the “long-term sustainability” of the Alaska Permanent Fund and the PFD.
The governor said in his response that he will continue to work with the legislature and the public to address those issues.
The state constitution gives the governor 20 days, not including Sundays, to take action on the bill. Thursday, Aug. 29, marks the end of that period.
Wednesday at midnight also marks the end of the special session. If Dunleavy lets the bill become law, the legislature will not meet again until January 2020. However, if the governor does veto the bill, that would leave holes in the budget and still no amount allocated for the PFD.
The legislature can be called into yet another special session either by the governor or by two-thirds vote of the legislature, or 40 votes. Once that happens, the five-day clock to override a veto begins.
It is not yet clear what the governor will do once the bill reaches his desk, but the governor has made a $3,000 PFD a priority for his administration.