Gov. Bill Walker signs ‘fast-track’ budget bill to avert shutdown of ferries, Medicaid

Gov. Bill Walker averted an impending shutdown of the Alaska Marine Highway System and the state’s Medicaid health insurance program on Tuesday by signing a $110.2 million fast-track supplemental appropriations bill.

In a ceremony on the third floor of the Alaska State Capitol, Walker affixed his signature to House Bill 321, which sends money to the ferry system, Medicaid, Alaska Department of Corrections, Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation and other state agencies.

Each of those agencies lacked enough money to last out the fiscal year, which ends June 30.

House Bill 321 passed the House and Senate by large, bipartisan margins. The House approved the measure 32-7 on March 12; the Senate followed suit with a 16-1 vote on March 16.

The bill was transmitted to Walker before the end of that latter day.

To read the rest of this story by the Juneau Empire, click here.