FAIRBANKS, Alaska - There are not enough legislators currently in Juneau to override the governor's budget cuts. With only 37 legislators currently convened in the capital, the legislature cannot reach the 45 votes needed to override the governor. Although most the legislators convened in the capital, some met nearly 600 miles away. 21 members of the Alaska State Legislature met in Wasilla, the location that Governor Mike Dunleavy wants the session to take place. Representatives Tamie Wilson and Dave Talerico were the only interior members in Wasilla today (Mon). Senators David Wilson of Wasilla and Peter Micciche of Soldotna, as well as Representative George Rauscher, were excused from the session for today. It's unclear if any compromise will be met between the groups, or if all of the legislators will meet in same location at any point during this special session.
With both the Senate and the House gaveled out for Monday, that leaves 4 days to overturn the Governor's line item vetoes. Both bodies have agreed to meet on Wednesday in a joint session to look at overturning the governor's line item vetoes all at once. That meeting starts at 11:30 am.
The senate saw a change of leadership today, as Senator Mia Costello was removed from the Senate Rules Committee and her position as Senate Majority Leader. Costello, an Anchorage Republican, was not in Juneau, but rather in Wasilla with three other Senators. Democratic Senator Lyman Hoffman of Bethel will replace her in both in positions. Senator John Coghilll says she was removed from her positions after not showing up in Juneau.
"The Majority leader is an appointed position," said Sen. Coghill. "We convened in Juneau. We needed a majority leader on the floor, she chose not to come to Juneau."
In the House, the body authorized HCR 201, which would allow the legislature to meet every seven days, instead of every three days as the required by the constitution. It passed unanimously by 23 votes. The Senate still has to approve the HCR 201, before it can go into affect.