Legislative leaders say they appear to have enough votes to override Gov. Sarah Palin's veto of $28.6 million in federal stimulus money for energy cost relief. Alaska is the only state to have rejected these funds, and that's not sitting well.
"I would be surprised if we didn't override her," North Pole Republican Rep. John Coghill said Thursday.
Rep. Mike Hawker, another member of the legislative leadership, said that's his count too.
"This is just one of those cases where there is such a profound difference of opinion between the legislative branch of government and the executive branch," the Anchorage Republican said. "We could have one of those rare and difficult instances where we are actually able to override a governor's veto of an appropriation item."
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It's so rare and difficult because it requires a 75 percent vote of the Legislature in joint session. But there's little support among lawmakers for Palin on this, and the debate is more about whether she could trump a veto override and manage to block the money.
Palin didn't always get along with the Legislature during her first two years in office, but her opponents rarely were able to muster enough support to seriously stand in the way of what she wanted. That's changed in the past year, with the April rejection of her appointment of Wayne Anthony Ross for attorney general – the first time in state history a head of a state agency has failed to be confirmed by the Legislature – and now the overwhelming opposition to her stand against the stimulus money.
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