Juneau, Alaska (KINY) - House and Senate leadership on Wednesday released statements following the governor’s announcement that he intends to call a special legislative session.
House Speaker Bryce Edgmon said the permanent fund is a very important issue.
“The Legislature is considering proposals that will determine whether the Permanent Fund actually remains permanent," Rep. Edgmon said. "We are vetting a massive overhaul of our criminal justice system. The proposed budget could fundamentally change Alaska’s economy.
"The decisions we face are simply too important to rush. We have worked hard to achieve meaningful compromise, and we are committed to continuing our work to get these monumental decisions right for Alaska.”
Senate Minority Leader Tom Begich also offered a statement.
"We are disappointed that the Governor is issuing this call before we have completed our work," Rep. Begich said. "It is the responsibility of the Legislative leadership in the House and the Senate to pass a budget, address crime and safety, and resolve the Dividend.
"The Senate Democrats have worked with our colleagues to resolve these issues before the end of the constitutional session limit. We expect them to be resolved and will continue to work towards the end. It is what all Alaskans expect of us. We are doing our part."
Rep. Lance Pruitt (R-Anchorage), the House Minority Leader, released a state as well.
“The fact that, at the eleventh hour, the House leadership is considering plans to gut the PFD program shouldn’t really be all that surprising considering the way they’ve handled business this session," Rep. Pruitt said. "They had 121 days to avoid special sessions, and they knew exactly what needed to get accomplished before tonight’s deadline.”
“At the beginning of this session, we were told that a 21-person majority would never be able to get any work done,” said Rep. Josh Revak (R-Anchorage). “Well, it appears that the current 25-person majority hasn’t worked either. With less than six hours to go before midnight, we have no budget, no education funding, no crime reform, and no PFD.”
“The wheels have come off the bus. Some members have said they feel rushed to get things done, but there has been no sense of urgency whatsoever,” added Rep. Ben Carpenter (R-Nikiski). “I hope Alaskans will show up at every meeting of the special session and voice their concerns directly to those who have willfully ignored their requests for the last four months.”
“The House Majority spent the entire session trying to show Alaskans they knew better, and in the process have only proved that they themselves have no understanding of how to govern,” said Rep. George Rauscher (R-Sutton). “Their intentional delays are forcing Alaskans to shell out money for special sessions, and that’s a tragedy.
Senate President Cathy released the following statement in response.
“The Senate passed an operating budget with significant cuts, fully-funded the PFD, and toughened the state’s criminal code by repealing and replacing Senate Bill 91," Sen. Giessel said. "We are committed to working with our colleagues in the House, and the governor, in seeing these critical policy changes through to the end. We will not rest until the people of Alaska have safe neighborhoods, a healthy economy and the Permanent Fund is protected for future generations.”