SB2002 will be taken up again later this month in effort to achieve supermajority support
July 23, 2019
Senate Bill 2002 passed 29-to-7 Tuesday, just one vote shy of a three-quarter supermajority. That represents four additional supporters for the capital budget compared to Sunday.
Sunday, all 23 members of the Alaska House Majority voted to pass legislation that would fund the capital budget ahead of a key July 31 deadline, part of an effort to prevent the state and private sector from missing out on nearly $1 billion in federal funding. Eight members of the Republican minority prevented the bill from receiving the supermajority vote needed to fund the capital budget. The vote was 25-to-8, as seven members of the minority were not in attendance for the vote.
Senate Bill 2002 passed the Senate 19-0 on Sunday and was sent to the House.
“The capital budget bill that failed to receive a three-quarter supermajority vote Sunday is completely separate from debate surrounding the Permanent Fund and the amount of this year’s dividend,” House Speaker Bryce Edgmon (I-Dillingham) said. “We urge every member absent today to return to Juneau for a reconsideration vote and to set aside the issues that have been unnecessarily dragged into this politically charged debate. There is still a chance to pass this budget, which is absolutely essential to our citizens and econom.”
With the special session ongoing, the legislation remains alive. House Speaker Edgmon committed yesterday that the Alaska House of Representatives will, by the end of July, hold a vote to rescind previous action on S.B. 2002 to get the thirtieth vote, either from members who initially voted no or from the four absent members.
“This bill not passing is having immediate impacts, and Alaskans are understandably nervous and angry as they witness continuing gridlock in Juneau. Jobs, scholarships, and vital services are all on the line,” Speaker Edgmon said. “We are not giving up hope. We thank everyone who voted for the capital budget and for the growing commitment to find compromise on this issue and the many other challenges ahead.”
S.B. 2002 has far-reaching implications well beyond the potential loss of $1 billion in federal highway funding. The bill also restores programs that provide university scholarships to 12,000 students, keep rural energy rates down through Power Cost Equalization, finance state efforts to prevent oil spills, and provide life-saving vaccines to Alaskans.
Senate Bill 2002 would restore funding to programs that provide university scholarships to 12,000 students, keep rural energy rates down through Power Cost Equalization, finance state efforts to prevent oil spills, and provide life-saving vaccines to Alaskans. A new law that repealed and replaced Senate Bill 91 with tough on crime provisions is also currently unfunded as a result of the capital budget stalling.
Edited by Mary Kauffman, SitNews
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