In the Alaska Legislature, the first special session of the summer is underway. Governor Mike Dunleavy called the session beginning May 21 to address his fiscal plan for the State.
The Senate passed a version of the State budget last week, and the House of Representatives rejected much of the Senate's version of the budget. In this special session, three legislators from the House and three from the Senate will work on a compromise budget and set the amount of the Permanent Fund Dividend.
Today, Monday, the House Judiciary Committee will hear public testimony on House Joint Resolution 7. Through the bill, Governor Dunleavy proposes an amendment to the Alaska Constitution that would change the structure of the Permanent Fund and how it can be spent. Public Testimony begins at 1 p.m. today.
District 31 Representative Sarah Vance of Homer is a member of the Judiciary Committee. She has publicly expressed support for the Governor's plan. Vance sponsored several bills through the regular session:
HB 221 proposed to set limits for any Governor declaring a disaster, requiring approval from the legislature to extend a disaster declaration after 30 days. The bill also stipulates that the Governor may not control commerce, the opening and closing of businesses during a disaster. The bill was referred to the State Affairs Committee on May 19, the end of the regular session.
HB 52, supporting the Tutka Bay Hatchery was referred to the Resources Committee on May 1. The bill is likely to be heard in next year's legislative session.
HB 140, Vance's bill to facilitate online driver's license renewal stalled in the State Affairs Committee on March 19 and did not make it to a floor vote this session.
HB 196, Vance's bill concerning ballot custody and voter registration has been sitting in the Judiciary Committee since late April. The bill is not scheduled to be heard in the special session.
One of the bills that Vance signed on to as a cosponsor, HB 123 did pass on the last day of the regular legislative session. The bill provides for State recognition of federally recognized tribes.
Weekly attempts to reach Representative Vance for comment have been unsuccessful.
You can see a copy of HJR 7, and find out how to offer public testimony on the governor's plan for the PFD at akleg.org. Watch the proceedings online at ktoo.org/gavel. For more information call the Homer Legislative Information office at (907) 235-7878.
The state has a one page tutotial on giving public testimony to the legislature.