Judge rules legislature can appropriate future funds

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An Alaska Superior Court judge has upheld the Legislature’s right to appropriate future unknown funds for programs it deems important.

The decision, if it stands, will have a substantial impact on lawmaking and budgeting going forward. Legislators may decide to do extensive forward funding programs during an election year, when a new governor is likely to take office. That governor would not be able to reach back and veto funding made and approved in previous years, and may lose the ability to veto for multiple years.

The issue went to court because the Dunleavy Administration argued that appropriating funds that were not yet in hand is unconstitutional.

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