SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska

Viewpoints: Letters / Opinions

First Week of Legislative Session

By Rep. Dan Ortiz


January 30, 2020
Thursday PM

The Alaska State Legislature began its 2020 session on January 21st. Last Friday, the Legislature held a joint session to vote on overriding two of Governor Dunleavy’s vetoes of House Bill 2001 from August of 2019. The Legislature had five days once we began session to address veto overrides. HB2001 was an appropriations bill created this summer to reverse some of the items that were vetoed from the original operating budget.

HB2001 included $5 million for AMHS, specifically to provide at least some service to areas like Cordova who have been - and will be - without service for months. HB2001 also included the full amount the state is obligated to pay for school bond debt reimbursement (the Governor vetoed 50% of the funding). The State pays 60-70% of school bond debt, which funds voter-approved construction projects or emergency needs. The remaining percentage is paid for by local municipalities. Governor Dunleavy’s veto of the State funded portion will not eliminate the need for funds, but simply transfer the burden to the local level. In Ketchikan, they will need to make up over $1.2 million in lost state funding and in Wrangell it amounts to a little under $87 thousand. When speaking on the Floor, Senator Stedman reminded the Legislative body that paying the promised reimbursement is, while not necessarily a legal requirement, a moral obligation.

Three-fourths of the Legislature, or forty-five affirmative votes, were needed to override these two vetoes. The vote failed with 37 legislators, including Senator Stedman and myself, voting in favor of the override while 20 voted to uphold the Governor’s vetoes. This means the vetoes stand and those items will not be funded. Three members were excused or absent, the 37 ‘yeas’ were cast by all members of the House Majority and a majority of Senators, and the 20 ‘nay’ votes were from House Minority members and a small group of Senators from Anchorage and the Mat-Su Valley.

Although we are unable to mitigate the losses from this year’s budget, the Legislature is currently working on the Fiscal Year 2021 budget. If you have input for the future budget or any questions about the budgetary process and legislative actions, feel free to email me at or call my office at 907-465-3824.

Rep. Dan Ortiz
Ketchikan, Alaska



Editor's Note:

The text of this letter was NOT edited by the SitNews Editor.

Received January 27, 2019 - Published January 30, 2020

Related Viewpoint:



Representations of facts and opinions are solely those of the writers and do not represent the opinions of Sitnews.


E-mail your letters & opinions to
Your full name, city and state are required for letter publication.

Published letters become the property of SitNews.

SitNews ©2020
Stories In The News
Ketchikan, Alaska

Articles & photographs that appear in SitNews are considered protected by copyright and may not be reprinted without written permission from and payment of any required fees to the proper sources.

E-mail your news & photos to

Photographers choosing to submit photographs for publication to SitNews are in doing so granting their permission for publication and for archiving. SitNews does not sell photographs. All requests for purchasing a photograph will be emailed to the photographer.