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Alaska Legislature enters special session

Alaska State Capitol building in Juneau
Alaska State Capitol building in Juneau(KTVF)
Updated: May. 20, 2021 at 4:56 PM AKDT
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - Starting Thursday, May 20th, the Alaska State Senate and House of Representatives entered a special session.

This session was called by Governor Mike Dunleavy with the aim of having the legislature focus on the Permanent Fund Dividend (PFD). On the previous night, facing the end of the regular session, the Alaska senate passed a version of the state’s capital and operating budgets.

Among the items added to the spending plan by the senate was a trail running from Fairbanks to Seward. This budget version was rejected by the House, which Senator Scott Kawasaki said is not unusual.

The budget process will continue as an ongoing conversation between the two chambers.

Kawasaki, the Democratic Senator from District A, explained, “The biggest point of contention is going to be the Permanent Fund Dividend.”

He went on to say, “The senate passed over a PFD that’s closer to $2,300, but it’s funded with earnings reserve account money and a lot of people don’t want to touch excess earnings reserve account money at this time,” although he added, “I personally supported that measure. I think that if there’s a time in the state where folks are dealing with hardships and troubles, a PFD is an important thing to consider as part of bolstering the economy in the state of Alaska.”

The current special session is scheduled to end on June 19th. The governor has also called a special session in August.

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