Lawmakers want another PFD special session
With a second special session scheduled to end on Tuesday, Senate and House leaders have asked Gov. Dunleavy to call them back for a third round.
Senate President Cathy Giessel, R-Anchorage, and House Speaker Bryce Edgmon, I-Dillingham, issued the request in a letter to the governor Wednesday.
The two presiding officers want time to craft a long-term solution for determining the size of the Permanent Fund dividend.
Lawmakers have been caught between competing statutes when debating the amount for this year’s payout.
Gov. Mike Dunleavy has remained firm that the state should pay a PFD that aligns with a decades-old statute, for about $3,000. But he does not have enough legislative support for that.
Others say the formula competes with a new law that limits how much of the Permanent Fund’s earnings can be drawn.
On Monday, the House and Senate passed a budget bill that contains a $1,600 dividend. Dunleavy hasn’t indicated whether he’ll accept it or veto it.
In the letter to Dunleavy the two presiding officers say the task requires dedicated attention that cannot be achieved in a regular session.
They write: “There is also broad recognition that given the complexity involved that attempting to find a solution during a regular legislative session is difficult if not virtually impractical. We are proposing that a special session take place before the end of the 2019 calendar year to consider the issue.”
During the interim between the two special sessions, a working group made up of four members each from the House and Senate were formed to draft policy recommendations.
According to the letter, they are scheduled to resume hearings.
“Their purpose is to do the advance work necessary for the Legislature to meet its objective during the special session,” Giessel and Edgmon wrote to Dunleavy. “We thank your administration for being available to work with the [working group] and hope the atmosphere of mutual collaboration can continue in the upcoming months.”
Dunleavy’s office did not return an email seeking comment.
Lawmakers are scheduled to gavel out on Tuesday, the last day for the 30-day session.
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