Lawmakers respond to demand for balance between core services, dividend amount
JUNEAU – The House of Representatives and Senate each voted Monday to pass legislation that restores funding for many essential programs and services that were vetoed by the governor.
Overall, two-thirds of Alaska lawmakers voted for House Bill 2001, which restores 80 percent of the governor’s vetoes to state efforts to improve the public safety, health, and education of Alaskans, while also providing for a Permanent Fund Dividend of approximately $1,600 per person.
House Speaker Bryce Edgmon released the following statement on the vote:
“Alaskans spoke loudly in favor of striking a balance between the Permanent Fund Dividend and essential programs and services that were vetoed by the governor. With broad bipartisan support, lawmakers today finalized a plan which embraces the fact that we need to right-size government through difficult cuts but also acknowledges that we cannot cut our way to prosperity.
The Alaska House Majority heard the outcry and thanks the thousands of people who took time out of their busy lives to advocate for the type of policies we enacted today. We encourage supporters to stay engaged by urging the governor to sign our plan without making additional damaging vetoes.”
The final vote on H.B. 2001 came just hours after the House approved Senate Bill 2002, which allows Alaska’s private sector to access $1 billion in federal funds for highway and construction projects and reverses the governor’s unprecedented action to zero out university scholarships for 12,000 students, increase rural energy rates by eliminating Power Cost Equalization, and take away grants from organizations that serve domestic violence victims and the homeless.