The Capitol Report 6/19/17: Second session begins as operating budget deadline looms

by Michelle Saport  |   

The Capitol Report - June 19, 2017

Good afternoon. I hope everyone had a good Father's Day weekend.

Today is the fourth day of the second special session of the Alaska Legislature. The House and Senate have now been in session for a combined total of 154 days. Reliable sources tell me this is the fourth longest session in history, the record having been set in 1981 at 164 days. Tip of the hat to former legislative aide Chris Clark.

As most of you may know, the House and Senate were unable to resolve their differences by last Friday's 30-day deadline, so both bodies adjourned the 1st special session "sine die", or in layman's terms, without plans to resume work. But resume they must as the state's 2018 fiscal year begins July 1st, less than two weeks from now. If an operating budget hasn't passed by then, state agencies have no spending authority to continue normal operations and will have to begin reducing or shutting down operations.

Following the Legislature's adjournment on Friday, Governor Walker immediately called legislators back into a second 30-day special session to continue working on the budget impasse. Everyone's immediate concern is the impending July 1st operating budget deadline. This time, the governor limited the call to the original operating budget bill, HB 57. In his comments accompanying the call, the governor left open the possibility of adding other issues to the session call, but not until the Legislature comes to agreement on the operating budget. As we've discussed in prior updates, there are a number of other unresolved policy issues that are important to the long-term financial health and stability of Alaska: an FY18 capital budget, opioid prescription controls, Permanent Fund restructuring, oil tax credits and potential broad-based tax proposals.

So where does this leave the University of Alaska?

Read the full report at

The Capitol Report, written by Miles Baker, UA Associate Vice President for Government Relations, is designed to keep the University of Alaska community informed about the current legislative session, particularly its impact on the university budget.

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