Alaska Legislature Set To Convene Amid House Uncertainty

first_imgRepublican Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s budget office has projected a $1.6 billion deficit for the coming fiscal year and is expected to roll out a budget proposal in the coming weeks. The first day of session, though, generally is marked by ceremony. Members are sworn in and assume their new roles. But the House had yet to finalize basic details, such as leadership or committee assignments. Lt. Kevin Meyer, who administers the oath of office to members, would oversee nominations for and election of a temporary speaker in the absence of an organized majority, according to his office. The Senate is scheduled to convene first, late Tuesday morning, with Anchorage Republican Cathy Giessel set to become Senate president. The Senate will have a GOP-led majority. The House is scheduled to meet early Tuesday afternoon. Republicans will hold 23 seats, which would be enough for a small majority in the 40-member chamber. However, party affiliation doesn’t always dictate how organizations are formed. There also was the question of whether most House staff could work past Tuesday, when a temporary hiring authorization was set to expire. The last time the House convened without an organized majority was 1981, according to the Legislative Reference Library, and it took until the 22nd day for a permanent speaker to be chosen. Big issues await lawmakers this session, including ongoing debates over the budget, crime and the annual check residents receive from the state’s oil-wealth fund, the Alaska Permanent Fund. Two Republicans, Reps. Louise Stutes and Gabrielle LeDoux, have caucused with Democrats the last two years and have indicated a desire to be part of a coalition. A third, Rep. Gary Knopp, left the GOP caucus last month, concerned with its small size and ability to function well. Facebook0TwitterEmailPrintFriendly分享JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — The Alaska House was on the verge Tuesday of convening without an organized majority for the first time in nearly 40 years, barring any late-minute breakthroughs. That organization was tenuous, though, and the speaker was replaced later in the year.last_img

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