Alaska’s second legislative special session starts with looming government shutdown

A blue carpetted hallway leading into several rows of wooden brown desks
Members of the Alaska House of Representative mill around the front of the House chamber before a brief technical session on Friday in the Capitol. A new special session to prevent an impending state government shutdown is scheduled to begin on Wednesday, June 23. (Andrew Kitchenman/KTOO and Alaska Public Media)

Legislators are converging on Juneau for the second special session that starts on Wednesday, as they attempt to avert a government shutdown. 

Gov. Mike Dunleavy has cited the failure of a vote related to the budget bill in announcing the shutdown. Four more House members would have to vote for the budget to go into effect on July 1 to prevent the shut down on that day

State officials are assessing which state services will continue and which will cease if the government shuts down, according to a spokesperson for the governor. 

State workers received a 13-page “2021 Government Shutdown FAQ” on Tuesday that provides details about how the shutdown will affect them. According to the document, employees who are required to work during the shutdown will be paid. But workers who are laid off or furloughed will not be paid for the time they’re out of work. 

Workers will continue to have health insurance in July. But laid-off workers won’t have health insurance in August, according to the document, if the shutdown continues that long. 

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Andrew Kitchenman is the state government and politics reporter for Alaska Public Media and KTOO in Juneau. Reach him at

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