Alaska State Senate ousts majority leader
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) – The Latest on the Alaska Legislature preparing for a second special session (all times local):
The Alaska State Senate kicked off it second special session in Juneau with a shake-up of leadership.
In a session that lasted less than a half hour Monday, the Senate removed Sen. Mia Costello from both her position as majority leader and her assignment on the Rules Committee.
The Rules Committee controls what bills reach the full Senate.
Costello, an Anchorage Republican, was replaced in both positions by Sen. Lyman Hoffman, a Democrat from Bethel who is part of the majority.
Costello was not in Juneau. Gov. Mike Dunleavy called for the special session to be in his hometown of Wasilla and Costello was among four senators and 17 state representatives who gathered there.
Senators in Juneau also accepted an invitation from the state House to meet at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday in a joint session to consider Dunleavy vetoes.
About 50 people holding signs demonstrated Monday along a Wasilla highway in favor of a “fully funded” Alaska Permanent Fund Dividend.
Alaska lawmakers were scheduled later Monday to meet in a special session. One topic will be the size of the 2019 payout from the permanent fund, which was begun with oil money and enhanced over decades with investment earnings.
Katherine Hayes waived a sign that read, “Don’t Steal My PFD.”
She says legislators should follow a formula set in state law for the size of the checks sent annually to most Alaskans.
Lawmakers for the past three have authorized smaller checks and used permanent fund earnings to help pay government expenses.
Demonstrator Laura Jones says she wants to get rid of the “crooks” in Juneau.
The Alaska Legislature is scheduled to begin a special session later Monday, but divided lawmakers cannot agree on the location. So, it appears they will go to different cities.
The main issue for the session is to determine the amount of this year’s oil wealth check. Gov. Mike Dunleavy favors a full payout, about $3,000 per person, but some lawmakers prefer smaller checks as the state deals with a budget deficit.
Lawmakers couldn’t decide the payout amount in five months of work in Juneau. Dunleavy called lawmakers into a second special session, in Wasilla.
However, a majority of lawmakers say they will convene Monday in Juneau while a smaller group say they are going to Wasilla.
Once the session starts, lawmakers also have five days to override Dunleavy’s budget vetoes.