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Alaska lawmakers pass spending package, ending special session in one day

Alaska lawmakers have passed a state spending package, which includes a dividend of about $1,300 each to residents this year, and ended their special session after one day.

The special session began and ended Thursday, one day after the 121-day regular session ended without a budget deal.

The Senate, controlled by a bipartisan coalition, on Wednesday passed a budget for government operations and infrastructure projects and sent it to the House as a take-or-leave proposition. The House adjourned without voting on it.

On Thursday, the measure was returned to the Senate, where $34 million in infrastructure projects was added before it was again passed in that chamber. Ten members of the Republican-led House majority then joined the 16-member House minority to approve the budget. The minority is largely composed of Democrats.

The budget allows for an additional check to residents of up to $500 next year if revenues exceed the current forecast. It also includes $175 million in one-time funds intended as a boost for schools. School leaders and advocates had urged a permanent increase in funding, citing inflation and other cost concerns.

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