The Latest: Walker plans to be more engaged with legislators

    Gov. Bill Walker says he plans to be more engaged with legislators during the special session beginning next week.

    Posted Thursday, May 19th, 2016 1:12pm by Lance David

    JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — The Latest on the upcoming special session called by Gov. Bill Walker (all times local):

    12:45 p.m.

    Gov. Bill Walker says he plans to be more engaged with legislators during the special session beginning next week.

    Walker told reporters his role during the special session is a bit different because lawmakers will be meeting at his call. He says he will be engaged daily to try to get a fiscal plan passed that will address the state's multibillion-dollar budget deficit.

    Walker early Thursday called a special session after legislators ended an extended regular session without a budget deal or a fiscal plan. The special session is scheduled to begin Monday in Juneau.

    The state has long relied on oil revenues to fund for state government but faces an estimated $4 billion deficit amid low prices. Walker laid out a fiscal plan that includes annual, structured draws from Alaska Permanent Fund earnings and various taxes.

    ___

    10:30 a.m.

    Alaska legislators' to-do list is largely unchanged from four months ago, with the budget, oil tax credits and plans to address a multibillion-dollar budget deficit unresolved as they head into a special session.

    While lawmakers passed several large bills dealing with issues like Medicaid and the criminal justice system in the regular session that ended just before midnight Wednesday, they couldn't come to terms on the priority budget and revenue bills.

    Lawmakers faced a constitutional meeting deadline Wednesday and had an option to extend an already over-long regular session by up to 10 days. But the House and Senate could not agree on extending themselves and adjourned, inviting a special session from Gov. Bill Walker.

    House Minority Leader Chris Tuck said his Democratic-led caucus determined the best move would be going into a special session, where the focus would be narrowed to select bills.

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