First Week of Legislative Session
By Rep. Dan Ortiz
January 30, 2020
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 Rep.Dan.Ortiz@AKLeg.gov or call my office at 907-465-3824.
Rep. Dan Ortiz
Received January 27, 2019 - Published January 30, 2020
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