Fairbanks public testimony lasts over 9 hours

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FAIRBANKS, Alaska Citizens voiced opinion on a bill that calls to overturn the governor's vetoes and provide a $929 PFD.

Citizens voiced opinion on a bill that calls to overturn the governor's vetoes and provide a $929 PFD. Photo Credit: Andrew Hawkins/KTVF

9 hours and 15 minutes, that’s how long public testimony was at the Fairbanks Legislative Information Office. It was the third and final public testimony session offered by the House Finance Committee about the amended HB 2001, which calls for an end to the governor’s vetoes and a PFD amount of $929 dollars. Over 300 citizens were at the office, with many there to voice their opinion. Fairbanks’ testimony lasted nearly three hours longer than both the meetings in Anchorage and Wasilla, with the last citizen’s comments coming after 11 pm.

Interior delegates in attendance included Representatives Bart LeBon, Adam Wool, and Grier Hopkins, who is not a part of the House Finance Committee. North Pole's Representative, Tammie Wilson, participated in the session telephonically. Senator Scott Kawasaki was also at the LIO taking public comments on the bill.

Many organizations were represented during the testimony, including the Tanana Chiefs Conference, the Fairbanks Symphony Orchestra, and many nonprofits throughout the community. Save Our State, a coalition in Alaska, were at the front of the building voicing their support of overturning the vetoes. There were also many local politicians in attendance, some of which gave their own testimony.

Between all three testimony sessions, more people spoke in favor HB 2001 than against. While it is clear not all Alaskans support the bill, public testimony did show that a majority of those who prioritize funding government services are willing to sacrifice their PFD.

With all the discussions going on, there is one element many are still concerned about, how Governor Mike Dunleavy fits into this discussion. Dunleavy has said that the legislature are not finished with their job until they fund a full statuary PFD. With HB 2001 calling for an end to the governor's vetoes and the smallest PFD since 2013, even if it does pass the legislature, he could still veto the bill. There has been signs of cooperation between the governor and the legislature, as proven yesterday when the governor amended the second special session to have it take place in Juneau. It is expected the roughly 20 legislatures who convened Wasilla will be traveling to the capital for the remaining days of the special session. It's still too soon to know what kind of support this bill will have in the legislature.