Alaska Court System responds to governor's budget vetoes

    The Dimond Courthouse in downtown Juneau.

    Fairbanks, Alaska (AP) - The Alaska Court System responded to a pair of vetoes by the state's Republican governor, including a budget cut related to a ruling on abortion funding, a report said.

    The court system issued a statement Wednesday in response to two line-item vetoes of its budget by Gov. Mike Dunleavy June 28, The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported Wednesday.

    The statement emphasized the courts are a co-equal branch of government.

    "We assure all Alaskans that the Alaska Court System will continue to render independent court decisions based on the rule of law, without regard to the politics of the day," the statement said.

    One veto included $334,700 for appellate courts, the same amount spent on abortion services through Medicaid in fiscal year 2018.

    Dunleavy opposed a state Supreme Court ruling in February that Alaska must fund abortion services through Medicaid.

    "The Legislative and Executive Branch are opposed to State-funded elective abortions; the only branch of government that insists on State-funded elective abortions is the Supreme Court. The annual cost of elective abortions is reflected by this reduction," Dunleavy's veto document said.

    The court statement is not attributed to any one member of the system and does not specifically mention the Medicaid ruling.

    The statement also addressed court employees and asked lawmakers to restore $1.76 million vetoed by Dunleavy that would cover a 3% cost-of-living allowance for non-union, non-judicial staff.

    "In fairness, we urge the Legislature to restore the cost of living allowances that will return you to equal footing with employees of the executive and legislative branches," the statement said.

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