Alaska remains on course for statewide shutdown; second special session begins
After its first special session ended in failure, the Alaska Legislature is still searching for a way to avert a July 1 statewide government shutdown.
On Monday, lawmakers are poised to renew debates on how to bridge a political gap between the coalition House Majority and the Republican-led Senate Majority.
Gov. Bill Walker called both the House and Senate into special session on Friday, but after brief floor sessions, each body adjourned until Monday.
Speaking to reporters Friday afternoon, Walker said he is confident that the Legislature can avert an economically catastrophic shutdown. For better or worse, however, the issue is largely out of his hands. Under the Alaska Constitution, the Legislature is the body that approves the state’s budget, and it’s the Legislature that must reach an agreement.
“The worst thing we could do is have government shut down … and have even greater uncertainty out there than we have today,” Walker said.
Walker does have the power to set the agenda for the special session, and his to-do list includes just one item: a state operating budget.
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