AG Clarkson lays out options for session dispute
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) – The Latest on a dispute over the next special legislative session in Alaska (all times local):
Alaska’s attorney general says Gov. Mike Dunleavy has several options for dealing with legislators who refuse to heed his call to meet in Wasilla, including seeking a court order to compel them to go.
Kevin Clarkson says if lawmakers were to disobey any such court order, Dunleavy could ask Alaska State Troopers to round them up.
He says Dunleavy simply could allow lawmakers to meet in Juneau or he could possibly join a lawsuit if one is brought by a citizen. But he says it’s Dunleavy’s call.
Dunleavy spokesman Matt Shuckerow said Dunleavy would be available to answer those questions later.
Dunleavy is at odds with legislative leaders, who have said they intend to meet in Juneau and hold committee meetings in Anchorage.
A memo from the Alaska Legislature’s top legal adviser says a governor does not have the constitutional power to compel the Legislature to meet in a location other than the state capital.
Legislative Legal Services Director Megan Wallace was responding to House Speaker Bryce Edgmon, who requested the analysis.
Gov. Mike Dunleavy has called lawmakers into a special session, starting July 8, in Wasilla. But Edgmon and Senate President Cathy Giessel have said the Legislature instead will convene in Juneau and hold most meetings in Anchorage.
Edgmon and Giessel said the Legislature was one short of the votes needed to call its own special session. But they said a majority of legislators in both chambers consider it the Legislature’s right to determine the best location and venue to conduct business.