JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — It appears increasingly less likely a special session of the Alaska Legislature will be held yet this year to address the check paid to residents from the state’s oil-wealth fund, Gov. Mike Dunleavy said.
In August, Dunleavy accepted the dividend passed by lawmakers, which amounted to $1,606, but said he viewed it as partial payment and anticipated a fall special session to address the issue.
Under state law, at least 30 days’ notice is needed to hold a non-emergency special session during the interim. That would push any special session now up against the holidays.
A Senate vacancy following the death of Republican Chris Birch in August recently was filled by Josh Revak, a freshman House member, after Senate Republicans rejected Dunleavy’s first choice of Rep. Laddie Shaw. Revak’s appointment to the Senate created a House vacancy not yet filled.
In nominating Revak in September, Dunleavy said he wanted a full complement of senators ahead of any possible special session.
The Republican governor has pushed for a dividend in line with a longstanding calculation that hasn’t been followed since 2016. Many lawmakers said such a dividend is unaffordable.
House Speaker Bryce Edgmon, an independent, said he thinks the window for a special session this year has closed and were one to be held, he doesn’t think it would be fruitful.
Dunleavy said Thursday if there’s no special session, the issue will be a top priority when the regular session convenes in January.
“My desire to, once again, take care of that issue as soon as possible is very strong,” he said.