Walker calls 2nd special session to avert a state government shutdown, puts fiscal measures aside

Tuesday, 27 June 2017, 03:20:21 PM. Gov. Walker said averting a shutdown should now be the Alaska Legislature’s sole focus.
JUNEAU — The Alaska Legislature on Friday finished its first special session and began the next one hours later, as Gov. Bill Walker brought legislators back to resolve unfinished business. But for this second session, Walker set aside the proclamation for the full deficit reduction package that he made for the first to instead focus on just a budget that would avert a state government shutdown July 1. The Republican-led state Senate gaveled out Friday morning, rejecting a last-ditch operating budget offer from the largely Democratic House majority, which had adjourned Thursday evening. Four minutes after the Senate's adjournment, Walker signed his proclamation convening the next special session, which began at 1 p.m. The proclamation includes only a bill making appropriations for the state's next fiscal year, which starts July 1. Lawmakers have yet to agree on one, and their paralysis risks a government shutdown in two weeks, which would shutter all but essential state services. Walker, at a hastily called news conference in his third-floor Capitol office, said he remains committed to getting new revenue bills — like taxes — through the Legislature, adding that the state's huge deficit will ultimately force their adoption. But he cited lobbying from "businesses, and business people" that convinced him that averting a shutdown should now be the Legislature's sole focus. "I'm giving up on nothing. I'm not giving up on measures of the full fiscal plan at all," he said. "I'm...Read more
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