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Tue Sep 20, 2016, 03:43 PM

Senators file lawsuit over Walker's PFD veto

ANCHORAGE — Gov. Bill Walker illegally vetoed Alaska Permanent Fund earnings that were required to be transferred to dividends, a lawsuit filed Friday by a state senator and two former state senators claims.

Facing a multibillion-dollar deficit, Walker in June cut in half the annual checks that give all residents a share of the state’s oil wealth. He kept enough money in place to award qualified Alaskans a $1,000 payout rather than an anticipated $2,100 check.

That simply is not legal under the legislation that created the fund, said Democratic state Sen. Bill Wielechowski, of Anchorage, and former Republican state Sen. Rick Halford, of Chugiak. They sued along with former Republican Sen. Clem Tillion, of Halibut Cove, like Halford a former Senate president.

Wielechowski said he took it for granted Walker acted properly until he spoke to Alaskans who amended the Alaska Constitution in 1976 to create a permanent fund. There was no intent to give a governor an exclusive ability to set the dividend, he said.

Read more: http://juneauempire.com/state/2016-09-18/senators-file-lawsuit-over-walkers-pfd-veto

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