SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska

Governor Walker Calls Special Session for Budget and Two Bills


April 27, 2015
Monday PM

(SitNews) - Governor Bill Walker Monday evening issued a proclamation to convene the Alaska State House of Representatives and Senate in a special session to pass a fully funded state budget and consider pending legislation for Erin’s Law and Medicaid reform and expansion.

“Local governments in Alaska are not allowed to pass a budget that is not funded, and nor should we,” Governor Walker said. “While there can certainly be disagreement on the amount, whatever state budget is approved must be fully funded. My administration is focused on healthy Alaskans and a healthy economy. A partially funded budget that runs out of money mid-year does not provide for the health of Alaskans, and creates uncertainty for businesses, school districts and families.”

Governor Walker took the first step toward addressing the state’s $3 billion deficit by reducing state spending with his budget proposal - $250 million in operating reductions and $440 million in capital spending.

“While the debate may continue on the amount of the cuts, it is not possible to balance the budget with cuts alone,” Governor Walker said. “It is critical the legislature pass a budget that is fully funded. The legislature just passed a budget that has a funding shortfall of $3 billion. “

Governor Walker is also giving legislators two more opportunities to expand Medicaid—by including the projected $146 million in new federal Medicaid revenue in his budget and by including House Bill 148 to reform and expand Medicaid as part of the special session call.

“Alaskans have spoken, loudly and clearly,” Governor Walker said. “They want Medicaid reform and expansion. It will bring $1 billion into the state economy over the next six years, and provide health care to 40,000 Alaskans. Now is not the time to say no to new revenue.”

Erin’s Law is a national initiative to provide sexual abuse prevention education to K-12 youth. There are four different versions of the bill currently stalled in the legislature.

“There is overwhelming support for Erin’s Law,” Governor Walker said. “This piece of legislation will help protect young Alaskans, and I want to make sure it is given adequate consideration. We can certainly add an opt-out provision for local school boards so it is not an unfunded mandate.”



Edited by Mary Kauffman, SitNews


Source of News:

Office of Governor Bill Walker


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Stories In The News
Ketchikan, Alaska

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