Alaska House approves stopgap ferry, Medicaid funding bill

House Bill 321 keeps services running until ordinary budget passes Legislature

Rep. Paul Seaton, R-Homer, speaks about House Bill 321 on Monday, March 12, 2018 on the floor of the Alaska House of Representatives. (James Brooks | Juneau Empire)

The Alaska House of Representatives has passed a stopgap funding bill to keep the Alaska Marine Highway and state Medicaid program operating.

In a 32-7 vote, the House approved House Bill 321, which moves to the Senate for consideration. HB 321 includes $24 million for the Alaska Marine Highway and $45 million for Medicaid. That money (and other appropriations within HB 321) will be used to keep state programs operating until the Legislature passes the ordinary state supplemental and operating budgets.

Lawmakers considered five amendments before voting on the final bill, but they accepted only two. One of the rejected amendments, offered by Rep. Lance Pruitt, R-Anchorage, would have reversed a move made last year by the Legislature to transfer $21.285 million from the Juneau Access road project.

The amendment failed 19-20, and the money stayed transferred. Gov. Bill Walker has already said he will not proceed with the project, and the amendment was opposed by Rep. Sam Kito III, D-Juneau; and Rep. Justin Parish, D-Juneau.

For the rest of this story, visit the Juneau Empire.

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