Alaska House asks Senate to meet Friday on PFD veto override
The Alaska House is making the first move toward overriding Gov. Bill Walker’s budget veto to limit Alaska Permanent Fund dividend checks to $1,000 this fall.
House Speaker Mike Chenault sent a letter to the Senate requesting to meet in a joint session Friday to take up the issue.
“Any item that the governor vetoes could be subject to a veto override,” said Chenault in an interview Wednesday morning.
When asked about support for an override on Walker’s PFD cut, Chenault replied, “Right now I think it’s close — I don’t know if there’s enough support there or not, so we’ll just have to see when we get to the floor and the item comes up.”
Friday is the Legislature’s last chance, within the five-day legal window, to override any of the governor’s budget vetoes.
“That’s typical,” Walker said of discussion on the possibility. “You know, when a governor vetoes, they have the right to override if they have 45 votes.”
Fourteen senators, of the Legislature’s 60 total members, have already voted in favor of Walker’s permanent fund restructuring plan — Senate Bill 128 — which included reducing the PFD to $1,000 this fall. Mathematically, obtaining 45 votes to override the governor’s action could prove challenging.
Chenault says he expects to hear back from the Senate by Friday about whether it will accept the invitation to meet at noon that day on the topic.
According to his staff, Senate President Kevin Meyer is traveling throughout the day Wednesday and unavailable for interviews.
In the meantime, Chenault said Wednesday will be slow in the House. He’s canceled a floor session originally scheduled for 11 a.m.
“Right now, I don’t expect a lot to happen,” said Chenault.
He said he met with the governor’s staff earlier Wednesday and plans to meet with minority members and some majority members to discuss how the Legislature can move forward.
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