JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) – The Alaska Senate’s Republican majority says it won’t automatically boot from the caucus any members who fail to vote for the budget.

The majority says it is expanding from seven to nine the number of senators on the budget-writing Senate Finance Committee to provide more opportunities for members to help mold the budget.

Incoming Senate President Cathy Giessel says this puts a focus on the budget and doesn’t automatically penalize senators in a way that would affect their constituents.

Minority Democrats are set to get two of the committee seats.

The majority also said Democratic Sen. Lyman Hoffman of Bethel is joining the caucus.

Hoffman has been a part of the Republican-led majority the past two years. He will get a seat on the Senate Finance Committee.