Alaska Legislature not on track to finish work in 90 days

An ochre and white concrete building in a gray cloudy day
The Alaska Capitol on Wednesday, June 2, 2021. (Nat Herz/Alaska Public Media)

The Alaska Legislature is not on track to finish its work within a voter-approved session limit of 90 days.

The 90-day mark will be reached Sunday.

The voter-approved limit took effect in 2008, but lawmakers face no penalty for failing to meet the deadline and can continue working beyond it. The state Constitution permits regular sessions of up to 121 days, with an option to extend another 10 days.

Lawmakers last finished within the 90-day limit in 2013, according to statistics from the Legislative Affairs Agency.

The state House over the weekend passed its version of a state operating budget, which the Senate still must consider. Senate President Peter Micciche did not have an immediate update on when the operating budget would reach the Senate floor.

Differences between the versions that pass the House and Senate usually are worked out by a conference committee.

The House version called for a $1,300 “energy relief” payment to Alaskans and a dividend of about $1,250.

A long-standing formula for calculating the annual dividend was last used in 2015. While many lawmakers see that formula as unsustainable, agreement has yet to be reached on an alternative. The dividend amount in the meantime generally has been set by lawmakers.

Other unresolved pieces include a state capital budget and votes on Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s Cabinet nominees and boards and commission picks.

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