News-Miner opinion: Wednesday is override vote day in Juneau, where a majority of the state’s legislators are meeting. Members of the House and Senate agreed to meet in joint session on that day to consider overriding Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s veto of more than $400 million from the budget approved by the Legislature in June.
The gathering in Juneau isn’t of the whole Legislature, though. A much smaller number is meeting in the gymnasium of a middle school in Wasilla, the site chosen by Gov. Dunleavy when he called lawmakers back into special session to resolve the amount of this year’s Alaska Permanent Fund dividend.
The situation is tumultuous and has several moving parts. The outcome? Who knows.
The Alaska Constitution gives the Legislature five days from the start of a regular or special session in which to override a governor’s veto. Overriding an appropriations veto requires a vote of three-fourths of the Legislature, or 45 votes. The Juneau assemblage, which rejected the governor’s call to meet in Wasilla, doesn’t consist of 45 legislators, so an override can’t succeed unless the group attracts some of those who are in Wasilla. The Juneau contingent does have enough members to constitute a quorum, however, so it can conduct some legislative business. And the Wasilla group? It doesn’t consist of enough lawmakers to do anything, so it didn’t actually get started.
Alaskans must continue to pressure their legislators, especially those in Wasilla, to override the vetoes.
Most of the Interior’s legislators support an override of the governor’s vetoes, especially of the potentially devastating reduction of $135 million of the University of Alaska’s budget. That’s 41% of the state’s general fund contribution to the university system.
Below are the names and contact emails and phone numbers of legislators at the Wasilla session, where support for the governor and his vetoes is prevalent. Two Interior legislators are there: Reps. Tammie Wilson of North Pole and Dave Talerico of Healy.
• Rep. Ben Carpenter, R-Nikiski
• Rep. David Eastman, R-Wasilla
• Rep. Sharon Jackson, R-Eagle River
• Rep. Delena Johnson, R-Palmer
• Rep. Gabrielle LeDoux, R-Anchorage
• Rep. Kelly Merrick, R-Eagle River
• Rep. Mark Neuman, R-Big Lake
• Rep. Lance Pruitt, R-Anchorage
• Rep. Sara Rasmussen, R-Anchorage
• Rep. George Rauscher, R-Sutton
• Rep. Josh Revak, R-Anchorage
• Rep. Laddie Shaw, R-Anchorage
• Rep. Colleen Sullivan-Leonard, R-Wasilla
• Rep. David Talerico, R-Healy
• Rep. Cathy Tilton, R-Chugiak/Mat-Su
• Rep. Sarah Vance, R-Homer
• Rep. Tammie Wilson, R-North Pole
• Sen. Mia Costello, R-Anchorage
• Sen. Shelley Hughes, R-Palmer
• Sen. Peter Micciche, R-Soldotna
• Sen. Laura Reinbold, R-Eagle River
• Sen. Mike Shower, R-Wasilla
• Sen. David Wilson, R-Wasilla