The Latest: Alaska House OKs permanent fund working group
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — The Latest on the Alaska Legislature (all times local):
The Alaska House has passed a resolution calling for creation of an eight-member House-Senate working group to make recommendations on the future use of Alaska Permanent Fund earnings.
The resolution passed 22-15. It next goes to the Senate for consideration.
The measure does not include a detailed timeline for when the group would make recommendations. But House Speaker Bryce Edgmon says he thinks there’s a will to get long-term issues regarding the permanent fund resolved this year, during a non-election year.
Members would be appointed by the presiding officers of each the House and Senate and would include minority members.
Lawmakers are currently in a special session. They have yet to settle on a dividend amount for this year.
The Alaska House has approved a state operating budget compromise. The Senate is expected to vote on it Monday.
The compromise, hashed out by House and Senate negotiators, doesn’t include the dividend Alaskans receive from the state’s oil-wealth fund, the Alaska Permanent Fund. Legislative leaders say they expect to deal with the dividend separately.
Disagreement over the dividend snarled efforts to finalize the budget with the start of the new fiscal year looming on July 1.
Gov. Mike Dunleavy says he’s thankful for the progress that’s been made. But he says the Legislature’s job isn’t done until it approves a full dividend.
Dividends have been reduced the last three years amid a budget deficit. Dunleavy has maintained the calculation should be followed and not changed without a vote of the people.
Senate President Cathy Giessel says she expects a vote Monday in the Alaska Senate on the dividend paid to residents from the state’s oil-wealth fund.
The Senate on Tuesday narrowly voted down a full Alaska Permanent Fund dividend, which would equate to checks to qualified residents of around $3,000 this year. The measure failed by one vote, with one prominent supporter, Sen. Mike Shower, absent.
Shower has cited work obligations for his absence but attendance by others also has been spotty since then.
Giessel says a vote on whether to rescind the Senate’s action on the bill will take place Monday, along with a planned vote on the state operating budget. She says she’s not sure how the vote on the dividend bill will turn out.
House and Senate negotiators have agreed to separate from the budget the dividend paid to Alaskans from the state’s oil-wealth fund in an effort to speed the budget’s passage.
Disagreement over the dividend had snarled efforts to finalize a state operating budget with the start of the new fiscal year looming on July 1.
House and Senate negotiators completed their work Saturday. The House and Senate still must vote on the plan.
The idea behind untangling the two issues is to deal with the dividend separately. Whether agreement on this year’s dividend can be reached by the end of the special session Friday remains to be seen.
Gov. Mike Dunleavy has said a long-standing dividend calculation should be followed. That would result in checks to qualified residents estimated around $3,000.