Committee passes bill to restore vetoed funding, pay $1,600 PFD

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JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) - The Alaska House's budget-writing committee has advanced legislation that would restore significant funding vetoed by Gov. Mike Dunleavy and pay residents a dividend of up to around $1,600 this year.

House Finance Committee Co-chair Neal Foster cast the measure as an attempt at compromise. House Minority Leader Lance Pruitt says he doesn't see it as such.

Dunleavy and minority House Republicans have pushed for a dividend of around $3,000, in line with a statutory formula that some see as unsustainable.

The bill would restore $110 million of the $130 million Dunleavy vetoed for the University of Alaska system. The bill would also restore the Senior Benefits Program and Adult Dental coverage through Medicaid.

Foster estimated that the bill would erase around $270 million of the governor's $444 million in vetoes. Roughly $100 million in vetoes would be accepted by the Legislature, including no school bond debt reimbursement payments to local governments.

If the bill passed, Dunleavy could still use his veto powers. It takes at least 45 lawmakers to override a veto, a threshold lawmakers failed to reach earlier this month.

The bill was voted out of the House Finance Committee Monday afternoon. It will now head to the House floor for further debate.