House asks Senate for joint session on overrides
JUNEAU — The Alaska House has asked the Senate to meet in joint session to consider potential overrides of vetoes made by Gov. Bill Walker, Speaker Mike Chenault said Wednesday.
The Nikiski Republican said he sent a letter to Senate President Kevin Meyer asking for a joint session Friday.
Chenault said he's not sure where the votes might be to try to override any particular veto. But he said there's enough interest on his side to at least hold a session to consider potential overrides.
Walker vetoed nearly $1.3 billion from the budget, the bulk of which came from limiting the amount available for Alaska Permanent Fund dividends and for oil and gas tax credits.
The Legislature, in passing the budget, provided enough money for a status quo dividend this year. The Senate later passed legislation that would limit dividends to about $1,000 for the next three years. That bill, the centerpiece of Walker's fiscal plan, would allow for use of permanent fund earnings to help pay for state government. It faltered in the House during the last special session.
The Senate on Monday decided to wait to see whether a joint session invitation would come from the House rather than initiating one. The Senate is not scheduled to meet again until Friday.
Suzanne Cunningham, Meyer's chief of staff, said his office had received the letter. Meyer is traveling but plans to be in Juneau on Thursday and is continuing to talk with his members, she said.