August 21

By BiLL Brown

Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy on Thursday added to the special session agenda a spending bill that would allow for payment of a permanent fund dividend to residents this year.

Dunleavy had said he wanted lawmakers during the special session that began Monday to take up his proposal to restructure the permanent fund and place in the state Constitution a new dividend formula before moving on to other issues. Budget debates consumed the first two special sessions.

Some legislative leaders have said they didn’t see the votes for Dunleavy’s proposed constitutional amendment, and some lawmakers balked at his approach. Little has happened so far this special session.

Dunleavy’s office said he added the bill to the agenda after a legislative group released its fiscal policy recommendations and following conversations between the administration and legislative leaders “about their interest in working toward a long-term fiscal solution this session.”

The House has a floor session set for Friday, though no committee hearings were scheduled for the day. The Senate is not scheduled to meet again until Monday.

Senate President Peter Micciche and Senate Minority Leader Tom Begich thanked Dunleavy for adding an appropriations bill and expressed hope in working toward a fiscal plan.