Lawmakers in Wasilla doubtful veto overrides possible
The Alaska Legislature had until the end of the day Friday to formally overturn any of Gov. Mike Dunleavy's 182 line item budget vetoes. While the rule generally indicates a deadline of 11:59 p.m., some lawmakers consider that if the Legislature were engaged in a floor session past midnight, it would still be considered the same "legislative day."
Regardless, lawmakers gathered in Wasilla said they were doubtful any further attempt at formal veto overrides will happen.
An attempt to override the vetoes in Juneau on Wednesday fell short, with lawmakers voting 37-1 to override. The Legislature needed at least 45 votes to overturn the vetoes.
The Associated Press reports that hopes of overturning Alaska budget cuts ended Friday when the state Senate and House adjourned until Wednesday.
At least 23 legislators were slated to meet at Wasilla Middle School Friday morning, according to Sen. Mia Costello, R-Anchorage. One of them was Rep. Tammie Wilson, R-North Pole.
"I don't see them showing up," Wilson said of her colleagues in Juneau.
Wilson started the session at Wasilla Middle School on Monday, then flew to Juneau for an attempt at veto overrides in the capitol, before returning to the Mat-Su.
Both and Costello and Wilson have lost positions this week. Costello lost her job as majority leader, though she still remains part of the Senate’s majority. Wilson, a former House Finance co-chair, is no longer part of the House majority.
They say they anticipate opportunities to further adjust funding for state programs in other ways, perhaps through additional appropriations bills.
"It's a conversation that we're having with Alaskans, with the governor's office, and with our colleagues in Juneau," said Sen. Costello, adding that she herself isn't in lockstep with the vetoes.
"I am looking at senior benefits programs, things that affect individuals versus the institutions. We are finding that some of our institutions are not as efficient as they should be," Costello said.
Wilson says she thinks lawmakers in Juneau may try to reverse Dunleavy's budget cuts by allocating the funding in a PFD appropriations bill introduced this week.
The two presiding officers say they are in regular talks with the governor as well as the House and Senate minority leaders.
Correction: An earlier version of this story implied there was a vote to override the vetoes on Thursday. A vote to override failed Wednesday and another was not held on Thursday; this has been clarified. Also, it incorrectly stated Costello and Wilson had been stripped of majority caucus memberships.
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