As Legislature splits, Chugiak-Eagle River legislators stick with Gov. Dunleavy in Wasilla

Tuesday, July 9, 2019 - 14:43
  • From left, Rep.-appointee Sharon Jackson (District 13), Rep. Cathy Tilton (District 12), Sen. Shelley Hughes (District F), Sen.-elect Lora Reinbold (District G) and Rep.-elect Kelly Merrick (District 14) attend a town hall meeting in Eagle River, Alaska on Thursday, Jan. 3, 2018. (Star file photo by Matt Tunseth)

All five members of the Chugiak-Eagle River legislative delegation have chosen to meet in Wasilla for a special session called by Gov. Mike Dunleavy rather than joining the majority of their colleagues in Juneau.

Senators Lora Reinbold (R-Eagle River) and Shelley Hughes (R-Mat-Su/Chugiak) are among four Republican senators meeting in Wasilla, while Reps. Kelly Merrick (R-Eagle River), Sharon Jackson (R-Eagle River) and Cathy Tilton (R-Mat-Su/Chugiak) will be among 15 Republican State House members to meet in the Mat-Su.

The majority of senators and representatives are meeting in a special session in Juneau. The bizarre split came about after Dunleavy called the special session in his hometown. Members of the House and Senate majorities balked, saying the governor can call a special session but not set the location of the meeting.

[[READ MORE: In unprecedented split, Alaska legislators will meet sseparately Monday in Wasilla and Juneau]]

The group meeting in Juneau is expected to discuss possible overrides to the governor’s $440 million in budget vetoes. However, the impasse is being driven by a rift over the Permanent Fund dividend; most of those meeting in Wasilla want to go with the traditional formula — which would result in dividends of about $3,000 for every Alaskan — while those meeting in Juneau by and large want a smaller dividend.

With the two sides at an impasse, it was unclear Monday what would happen. If the Legislature fails to act, the governor’s vetoes would go into effect and no dividend would be paid.

While legislators could still change their plans, here’s the latest tally of where lawmakers will be on Monday (via Anchorage Daily News):

• In Wasilla: House Minority Leader Lance Pruitt, R-Anchorage; 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. Sara Rasmussen, R-Anchorage; Rep. Josh Revak, R-Anchorage; Rep. Laddie Shaw, R-Anchorage; Rep. Colleen Sullivan-Leonard, R-Wasilla; Rep. Dave Talerico, R-Healy; Rep. Cathy Tilton, R-Wasilla; Rep. Sarah Vance, R-Homer.

Senate Majority Leader Mia Costello, R-Anchorage; Sen. Shelley Hughes, R-Palmer; Sen. Lora Reinbold, R-Eagle River; Sen. Mike Shower, R-Wasilla.

• In Juneau: Speaker of the House Bryce Edgmon, I-Dillingham; House Majority Leader Steve Thompson, R-Fairbanks; Rep. Matt Claman, D-Anchorage; Rep. Harriet Drummond, D-Anchorage; Rep. Zack Fields, D-Anchorage; Rep. Neal Foster, D-Nome; Rep. Sara Hannan, D-Juneau; Rep. Grier Hopkins, D-Fairbanks; Rep. Jennifer Johnston, R-Anchorage; Rep. Andy Josephson, D-Anchorage; Rep. Gary Knopp, R-Kenai; Rep. Chuck Kopp, R-Anchorage; Rep. Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins, D-Sitka; Rep. Bart LeBon, R-Fairbanks; Rep. John Lincoln, D-Kotzebue; Rep. Dan Ortiz, I-Ketchikan; Rep. Ivy Spohnholz, D-Anchorage; Rep. Andi Story, D-Juneau; Rep. Louise Stutes, R-Kodiak; Rep. Geran Tarr, D-Anchorage; Rep. Chris Tuck, D-Anchorage; Rep. Tammie Wilson, R-North Pole; Rep. Adam Wool, D-Fairbanks; Rep. Tiffany Zulkosky, D-Bethel.

Senate President Cathy Giessel, R-Anchorage; Senate Minority Leader Tom Begich, D-Anchorage; Sen. Chris Birch, R-Anchorage; Sen. Click Bishop, R-Fairbanks; Sen. John Coghill, R-North Pole; Sen. Elvi Gray-Jackson, D-Anchorage; Sen. Lyman Hoffman, D-Bethel; Sen. Scott Kawasaki, D-Fairbanks; Sen. Jesse Kiehl, D-Juneau; Sen. Donny Olson, D-Golovin; Sen. Bert Stedman, R-Sitka; Sen. Gary Stevens, R-Kodiak; Sen. Natasha von Imhof, R-Anchorage; Sen. Bill Wielechowski, D-Anchorage.

• Excused absent: Rep. George Rauscher, R-Sutton; Sen. Peter Micciche, R-Soldotna; Sen. David Wilson, R-Wasilla.

This is a developing story; for complete coverage of the sessions, visit the Anchorage Daily News.

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