|Protecting Your Rights: Serving Sand Lake, Spenard, and Turnagain|
|June 20, 2016
Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Saturday evening, the legislature adjourned the first special session without approving any revenue measures to help close Alaska’s $4 billion deficit. On Sunday, Governor Walker called the legislature back to address Alaska’s financial challenges at a second special session to start on July 11th.
Health Insurance Coverage for Surviving Families of Slain Public Safety Officers and Firefighters
On Saturday, the House Finance Committee passed a bill that would guarantee 10 years of health coverage to the survivors of public safety officers and firefighters killed in the line of duty, House Bill 4002. Later on Saturday, the House passed the bill unanimously. The bill recognized the challenges for families with young children who lose a parent who dies in the line of duty. The bill then moved to the Senate, but the Senate did not take action on the bill before adjourning on Sunday. Although the Governor included this legislation on the call for the First Special Session, he did not list the bill on his Second Special Session call. Thus, there will be no legislative action this session.
Governor Calls Second Special Session to Address Financial Challenges
On June 6, the Senate passed a Permanent Fund restructuring bill that set the Permanent Fund Dividend at $1,000 for the next three years, Senate Bill 128. Restructuring the Permanent Fund is an important component of the Walker-Mallott plan to address our financial challenges.
In the House Finance Committee, a compromise amendment to SB 128 developed that would set the Permanent Fund Dividend at $1,500 for the next two years. As the House Finance Committee continued its review of SB 128, there was much discussion in the Capital about whether there were enough “yes” votes in the House to pass either version of SB 128. Eventually, the House Finance Committee did not vote to send SB 128 to the House Floor, and the House never considered the bill. The House then gaveled out of the first special session on Saturday and the Senate gaveled out on Sunday.
Shortly after the Senate adjourned on Sunday, Governor Walker signed an executive proclamation calling the legislature back for a second special session in Juneau to consider three specific matters. All of the matters “on the call,” except for sales tax, were in the Governor’s initial proclamation. These matters include:
The legislature has been considering all of these matters in the regular session (90 days), the extended regular session (30 days), and the first special session (27 days). We will now consider the same matters in the second special session.
Like many in our community, I continue to be frustrated and disappointed that the legislature did not complete its work within the 90-day voter-mandated limit. I hear from countless Alaskans who are frustrated that the legislature has not approved a plan that will responsibly address Alaska’s financial challenges. During the second special session, I will remain committed to reaching an agreement on a responsible action plan that puts the interests of Alaskans first!
As always, please let us know if you have any questions or concerns.
Rep. Matt Claman
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