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After extended debate, Alaska House passes operating budget

April 2, 2018

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — After nearly two weeks of debate, the Alaska House has passed its version of a state operating budget.

The measure now goes to the Senate, with less than two weeks left in the 90-day session.

The House bill includes $19 million more for the University of Alaska system than Gov. Bill Walker proposed. It also increases funding for the Public Defender Agency to help meet caseload demands.

One highly contentious provision would set this year’s Alaska Permanent Fund dividends at $1,600.

Lawmakers last week voted to fund dividends using a statutory formula that’s been ignored the last two years that would have put dividends at about $2,650. But that vote was rescinded.

House Speaker Bryce Edgmon said there wasn’t sufficient support in the Legislature for a full dividend this year.

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