A fine mess
Lawmakers at the faux special session in Juneau failed Wednesday to override Gov. Mike Dunleavy”s $444 million in budget vetoes in a 37-1 vote.
With 22 legislators camped out in Wasilla answering Dunleavy’s special session call, the Juneau faction did not even have the 40 votes necessary to call itself into session, much less the 45 needed to override the governor’s veto.
Of the 37 who voted to override, a dozen were Republicans: Rep. Jennifer Johnston, R-Anchorage; Rep. Gary Knopp, R-Kenai; Rep. Chuck Kopp, R-Anchorage; Rep. Bart LeBon, R-Fairbanks; Rep. Louise Stutes, R-Kodiak: Senate President Cathy Giessel, R-Anchorage; Sen. Chris Birch, R-Anchorage; Sen. Click Bishop, R-Fairbanks; Sen. John Coghill, R-North Pole; Sen. Bert Stedman, R-Sitka; Sen. Gary Stevens, R-Kodiak; and, Sen. Natasha von Imhof, R-Anchorage.
The only “no” vote was Rep. Tammie Wilson, R-North Pole.
What will happen next is anybody’s guess. The Juneau faction could revote on the overrides, but the outcome likely would be the same and the legality would be in question. Or, it could vote on new appropriations, but they, too, would be subject to veto, as well.
The only way forward is compromise or capitulation, and the clock is ticking. The Legislature has only until the end of Friday to override the vetoes.
And still, no action setting the amount of this year’s Permanent Fund dividend.
A fine mess.