FAIRBANKS, Alaska - It's been one day since the Alaska State Legislature failed to override Governor Mike Dunleavy's vetoes. When asked about the fail of an override, Senator Scott Kawasaki said he was disappointed that the legislature were unable to make any changes.
"I feel everybody else’s concern, everybody else’s fear and anxiety about what’s going to happen next," said Sen. Kawaski. "It’s just a shameful product from this governor. I wish we had a legislature that was more willing to buck this governor on these vetoes."
While there are those that voiced support of the additional cuts to the State Operating Budget, the Interior has overwhelmingly spoke against the vetoes. From rallies, to protests, to letters, citizens from the Fairbanks North Star Borough spoke against the governor's actions. It wasn't just the citizens, businesses and local government also spoke against the cuts. Earlier this week, both the Borough Assembly and Fairbanks City Council decided to show their support in overturning the governor. In a letter addressed to the interior delegation, Fairbanks Mayor Jim Matherly said the cuts were too extreme, adding they could cause irreparable harm to the Fairbanks Economy.
Despite the override failing, legislators across the state, including many from the interior, says the fight is not over. According to Representative Steve Thompson, now that the override has failed, any changes to the vetoes must be done by an appropriation bill. HB 2001 is an appropriation bill that the legislature is looking at now. Although it focuses on the Permanent Fund Dividend, language can be added to the bill to refund the items that the governor cut. However, even if the legislature approves to refund these items, Rep. Thompson says the legislators in Wasilla and the Governor himself are needed for any changes to stay.
"If we can get some compromise going with the people who are up in Wasilla and with the governor we could add items back in that were vetoed," stated Rep. Thompson. "Unless we get some compromise going with them, it could just open it back up where the governor would veto them all again."
With the governor's approval needed, it is unclear if and when any changes to the 182 line item vetoes would occur.