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The Latest: Alaska governor calls special session

May 16, 2019

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — The Latest on the Alaska Legislature (all times local):

12:10 a.m.

Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy has called lawmakers into a special session, starting Thursday in Juneau.

The proclamation came as the Legislature was adjourning the regular session without resolution on its biggest issues. Dunleavy warned earlier in the day of plans to call a special session when he said it didn’t appear that lawmakers would finish their work.

Wednesday marked the 121st day of the session, the constitutional limit.

The special session agenda includes state operating and capital budgets, crime legislation and a measure on school funding, something legislative leaders have maintained they’ve already addressed.

A press release from Dunleavy indicated that he expected the budget to include a full dividend payout to residents from the state’s oil-wealth fund, the Alaska Permanent. Lawmakers have been wrestling with the dividend issue,

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5:55 p.m.

Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy plans to call lawmakers into a special session, saying they did not appear to be on course to finish major unresolved issues by Wednesday’s constitutional deadline.

Details on the timing and location were expected later. Dunleavy says a change of venue might make a difference and said there has been interest in meeting in the Matanuska-Susitna Valley. He said it also could be in Juneau.

Senate Finance Committee Co-Chair Bert Stedman says the capital is Juneau and it would be more cost effective to have the special session there.

Lawmakers had yet to come to agreement on a crime package or a state spending plan. They also hadn’t made a decision on how to handle the dividend paid to residents from the state’s oil-wealth fund.

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11:15 a.m.

Gov. Mike Dunleavy says he expects Alaska legislators to approve a full dividend payout to residents this year from the state’s oil-wealth fund.

Dunleavy spoke to reporters Wednesday, the constitutional deadline for lawmakers to finish their work.

He said he expects action on the dividend, the budget and a crime package, as well as inclusion of school funding in the budget for the coming year. Otherwise, he says a special session will be needed.

Senate President Cathy Giessel says work continued toward trying to reach agreement on a dividend. There are lawmakers who agree with Dunleavy that the statutory calculation should be followed, but others do not think the formula is sustainable.

Giessel says she expects the crime package to be resolved Wednesday.

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8:35 a.m.

The Alaska Legislature faces a Wednesday deadline to complete its work, with agreement on state spending plans and a crime package and a decision on how to handle the dividend paid to residents from the state’s oil-wealth fund remaining.

House and Senate negotiators have nearly reached agreement on a state operating budget that shuns the level of cuts proposed by Gov. Mike Dunleavy. But a decision remains on what to do with the dividend.

Lawmakers have not agreed on a dividend amount, and an option that’s been raised is to handle that issue separately from the budget.

The state capital budget and a sweeping crime package also remain.

Lawmakers could extend the session an additional 10 days if needed or a special session could be called.

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