Social service groups urge governor to relax veto pen

    Gov. Mike Dunleavy.

    Anchorage, Alaska (AP) - Alaska social service providers are pleading with Gov. Mike Dunleavy to forego vetoes in the latest budget bill sent to his desk.

    Representatives of more than two dozen groups spoke Wednesday outside state offices in Anchorage.

    They urged the first-term Republican governor to allow funding for early childhood development and services that help the homeless, elderly and others in urban and rural Alaska.

    Dunleavy in June vetoed more than $400 million from a budget passed by legislators, who could not muster a three-fourths majority to override.

    State lawmakers at a special session last week approved a budget bill restoring much of the money eliminated.

    Trevor Storrs of the Alaska Children's Trust acknowledged state fiscal problems but said Alaskans want a state where residents have access to basic services.

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