Governor Mike Dunleavy held a press conference to discuss many hot topic issues, such as the Permanent Fund Dividend, the Real ID, and he defended himself against questions regarding a controversial contract.
Governor Dunleavy focused mainly on answering questions regarding the Alaska Marine Highway System, but there were some questions that were off topic. One question regarding the Real ID asked whether people will have access to a mobile DMV that has proven to have technical issues.
"If you recall I was in charge of State Affairs, and I rang a warning bell that this could be problematic for the state of Alaska. I actually tried to separate out the state ID from the federal ID. You can go back and look at the records, it's pretty clear where I stand on this. With that said, I wish I had in front of me the current IDs that are currently present that many folks of Alaska may actually have that would qualify for the folks to travel,” Governor Dunleavy said.
The conference turned heated when the question of a controversial contract was brought up, regarding a Dunleavy donor whose grandson was given a no-bid contract after Governor Dunleavy took office. Representatives questioned Dunleavy during a House State Affairs Committee meeting. According to Dunleavy, the representatives in question voted to lower the ethics bar last year in an ethics bill, and agreed to not follow the statutes regarding the PFD.
"I want to make sure these are the same individuals that agreed not to file the 90 day statutory session. But...these are the same individuals that had no problem taking back per diem last year. Just want to make sure that these are the same individuals. But an answer to your question, we're looking into all the details surrounding that contract and other contracts. Once we are finished with our deep dive, we will come out and have a presser on it," said Governor Dunleavy.
Governor Dunleavy stated he still wants to continue to push for a full statutory 2019 Permanent Fund dividend. The governor's office submitted a budget amendment to the Alaska Legislature that fully funds the PFD.
"I understand it, I want to be engaged in those discussions. What the PFD may possibly look like going forward, that's one thing. What point do we pick and choose what we're going to do? We have the money, we have the statutes, that's why it's in the bill," said the Governor.
In response to the Governor’s comments on the Permanent Fund Dividend, the Alaska House Majority introduced a resolution today vowing to defend the value of the P-F-D.
According to a press release from the House Majority, the resolution commits to safeguard the investments of oil and wealth.
House Speaker Bryce Edgmon said, "We reject the idea that most people would take from future generations just so we can receive the largest PFD in history today."
The Alaska House Majority said their vision is to increase the value of the fund to 100 billion dollars in 20 years.
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