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The Latest: Bill would address vetoes, Alaska dividend

July 23, 2019

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — The Latest on the Alaska Legislature (all times local):

4:20 p.m.

The Alaska House’s budget-writing committee has advanced legislation that would restore significant funding vetoed by Gov. Mike Dunleavy and pay residents a dividend of up to around $1,600 this year.

House Finance Committee Co-chair Neal Foster cast the measure as an attempt at compromise. House Minority Leader Lance Pruitt says he doesn’t see it as such.

Dunleavy and minority House Republicans have pushed for a dividend of around $3,000, in line with a statutory formula that some see as unsustainable.

The bill would restore $110 million of the $130 million Dunleavy vetoed for the University of Alaska system.

If the bill passed, Dunleavy could still use his veto powers. It takes at least 45 lawmakers to override a veto, a threshold lawmakers failed to reach earlier this month.

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11:55 a.m.

The Alaska House has failed by one vote to approve funding for a state infrastructure package.

Majority lawmakers needed support from minority Republicans to reach the 30-vote threshold required to access the constitutional budget reserve fund, which the capital budget would use. A similar vote Sunday failed by five votes.

Monday’s vote was 29-7 vote, with five minority Republicans voting in favor and four with excused absences. House Minority Leader Lance Pruitt, a “no” on that provision Sunday, voted “yes” Monday.

GOP Rep. Gabrielle LeDoux, who is without a caucus, also voted in favor.

House Majority Leader Steve Thompson says lawmakers could later move to rescind their action and take another vote. The measure previously passed the Senate.

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10:20 a.m.

The Alaska House plans another vote on the state infrastructure budget after failing to win sufficient support from minority Republicans Sunday to fund the package.

The House majority says a reconsideration vote is planned for Monday.

The capital budget would use constitutional budget reserve funds, which, in the House, requires at least 30 votes. Sunday’s vote fell five votes short of that threshold. Minority Republican Rep. Kelly Merrick and GOP Rep. Gabrielle LeDoux, who is not in a caucus, voted with the majority.

Seven minority members were absent. A spokesman said they had prior excusals.

The measure also seeks to prevent money in various accounts, for things such as student scholarships and rural electric costs, from going into the budget reserve to help repay money that’s been taken from it.

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