Gov. Mike Dunleavy vetoed $444 million of budget line items last week. Many Bethel organizations will feel the pinch should the vetoes remain in effect. Three-quarters of the state's lawmakers must vote against the vetoes in order to successfully override them, and that decision will come next week.
District 38 Rep. Tiffany Zulkosky has a mantra that she’s used a lot this year.
"I believe that an elected official shows their priorities are by where they budget," Zulkosky said.
Dunleavy’s vetoes jeopardize many services that people in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta rely on. That includes Medicaid, school funding, and the village public safety officer program. These are programs that Zulkosky promised to protect during her 2018 campaign for House District 38 Representative.
"I don’t believe these vetoes are sound public policy," Zulkosky said.
It requires a three-quarters majority of state lawmakers to override Dunleavy’s vetoes. Given the divisions between minority and majority caucuses in both legislative bodies, and the possible approaches being considered to bring the override to a vote, it’s hard to say if that will happen.
"How those overrides will be considered has not yet been determined, and there’s not much more I can say myself about that," Zulkosky said.
Zulkosky heads to Juneau next week for a special session to consider Dunleavy’s state budget and the Permanent Fund Dividend. Lawmakers must decide on any veto overrides within five days of the beginning of the special session.