A legislative panel on Thursday unanimously agreed to authorize the Legislature’s legal team to sue Gov. Mike Dunleavy next month if he does not make the monthly payment to the public school districts.

The 14-0 vote from the Legislative Council came several hours after lawmakers adjourned on day 29 of the first special session. Megan Wallace, the state’s director of legislative legal services, said her team is poised to take action next month.

“In the event that the money is not disbursed by mid-July as is required by statute, with passage of this motion legal services will be prepared to undertake and file whatever pleadings are necessary to commence a lawsuit,” she said.

Last month, the House and Senate, through separate votes on a special resolution, authorized a the Legislative Council to sue Dunleavy. Under the Alaska Constitution, the governor cannot sue the Legislature.

The issue is funding for the upcoming school year, which lawmakers believe has already been funded last year under House Bill 287 — but Dunleavy’s legal team says this kind of forward funding is unconstitutional.

Even if the payment is made next month, Sen. Gary Stevens, R-Kodiak, said the real issue is about separation of powers and a lawsuit could still be filed.

Gov. Mike Dunleavy has previously said he expects the dispute to end up in court, possibly the Supreme Court, so both sides receive the clarity they need for future legislatures.

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