Alaska Senate President Gary Stevens is polling the Senate to see if its members support going into special session and overriding Gov. Sean Parnell's veto of money to expand Denali KidCare. But Stevens said he doesn't think there's enough support for a veto override and personally opposes having a special session.
Stevens is taking the poll at the request of Anchorage Democratic Sen. Hollis French. French is a part of the bipartisan majority in the Senate and he's also running against the Republican Parnell for governor in this year's election. French and three other Democratic senators, Bettye Davis, Johnny Ellis and Bill Wielechowski, on Tuesday called on Parnell to change his mind about Denali KidCare and bring the Legislature into special session to override the veto.
Parnell spokeswoman Sharon Leighow responded that is not going to happen.
The Legislature could always call itself into special session. But it takes a three-quarters vote of the House and Senate meeting in joint session to override a budget veto. That means 45 of the 60 legislators would need to support an override. "I think it's unlikely there are three-quarters," Stevens said.
Parnell last week vetoed nearly $3 million to expand Denali KidCare, which covers health care costs for low income children and pregnant women. It would have brought an estimated 1,300 more children and 218 more pregnant women into the program, according to the state.
Parnell said he vetoed the expansion because some Denali KidCare money funds abortions.
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