Alaska’s fourth special session begins with legislators unable to agree on when to meet

The Alaska House of Representatives meets on the first day of the fourth special session of the year, on Oct. 4, 2021, in the State Capitol in Juneau. The House passed a resolution that would have allowed the Legislature to leave Juneau for up to eight days, but the Senate didn't consider the measure. (Photo by Andrew Kitchenman/KTOO and Alaska Public Media)
The Alaska House of Representatives meets on the first day of the fourth special session of the year on Monday in the Capitol. The House passed a resolution that would have allowed the Legislature to leave Juneau for up to eight days, but the Senate didn’t consider the measure. (Andrew Kitchenman/KTOO and Alaska Public Media)

The Alaska Legislature began its fourth special session of the year on Monday. There are big disagreements between lawmakers on major policies. But it’s also not clear if they can even agree on how frequently to meet over the 30-day session. 

The House passed a resolution that would have allowed both chambers to spend more than a week away from Juneau. The resolution would have required both chambers to convene at least once by Oct. 12. 

But the Senate did not consider the resolution. Instead, it adjourned until Friday. That means both chambers are scheduled to hold their next floor session on Friday.

None of the Legislature’s standing committees have announced that they’re meeting this week, so there may not be any work carried out in public on the session’s agenda for at least the next three days. 

More than a quarter of the Legislature — 16 of 60 lawmakers — was absent, including nine of the 20 senators.

Gov. Mike Dunleavy has put bills on the agenda to put the permanent fund dividend in the constitution, lower the state’s spending limit and increase revenue. He also asked the Legislature to pass funding for another permanent fund dividend in addition to the $1,114 PFD it passed last session. 

 

Andrew Kitchenman

State Government Reporter, Alaska Public Media & KTOO

State government plays an outsized role in the life of Alaskans. As the state continues to go through the painful process of deciding what its priorities are, I bring Alaskans to the scene of a government in transition.

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