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Liz Raines

Stories by Liz Raines

  • Alaska Politics

    Alaska lawmakers headed home, but session isn’t over yet

    by Liz Raines on Jun 23, 16:50

    Many lawmakers are headed home after passing a budget late Thursday night to prevent a government shutdown next week. But the final gavel hasn’t fallen yet. If lawmakers felt a sense of accomplishment after finally passing a budget, the satisfaction was short-lived. Less than two hours later, Gov. Bill Walker added a new issue to […]

  • News

    Two of three Mat-Su Senators now in the minority

    by Liz Raines on Jun 22, 21:11

    In an unexpected move Thursday evening, Rep. Shelley Hughes (R-Palmer) voted against a compromise budget bill put forward by the operating budget conference committee. Voting for the budget is a requirement for remaining in the Republican-led Majority caucus. Hughes now becomes the second Matsu Senator this year to leave the Majority. In April, Sen. Mike […]

  • News

    Visually impaired Alaskan rewarded for work on ride-hailing bill

    by Liz Raines on Jun 22, 11:06

    Ride-sharing company Uber is giving a visually impaired Alaskan free rides for one year after he spent years and thousand of dollars advocating for its operation in Alaska, both at the state and municipal level. Sam Moore, an Anchorage resident, flew to Juneau several times during this year’s legislative session to urge lawmaker support for […]

  • Alaska News

    Alaska Supreme Court weighs PFD lawsuit

    by Liz Raines on Jun 20, 17:48

    The future of Permanent Fund dividends is now in the hands of five judges. On Tuesday, the Alaska Supreme Court heard from both sides in a lawsuit challenging Gov. Bill Walker’s partial veto of last year’s PFD checks. The historic case will set a precedent for decisions about the dividend program moving forward. Debate in […]

  • News

    Alaska Supreme Court hears arguments in PFD lawsuit

    by Liz Raines on Jun 19, 17:35

    With empty halls and locked doors in the Capitol building, the most notable political action this week might be found in an Anchorage courtroom– the Alaska Supreme Court, that is. State Senator Bill Wielechowski (D-Anchorage) is behind a lawsuit challenging Gov. Bill Walker’s partial veto of last year’s Permanent Fund dividends. Even lawmakers who remain […]

  • Alaska Politics

    Alaska lawmakers unlikely to pass budget before special session ends

    by Liz Raines on Jun 15, 18:00

    Friday is the end of a special session in Juneau, and lawmakers have not passed an operating budget to keep state services running past July 1. At this point, passage of a budget is possible, but procedurally difficult because lawmakers must have the bill on their desks for 24 hours before taking a vote — and that […]

  • Alaska News

    Gov. Walker signs bill to open door for Uber/Lyft in Alaska

    by Liz Raines on Jun 15, 14:12

    On Thursday afternoon, Gov. Bill Walker signed into law a bill to encourage ride-sharing companies like Uber and Lyft to operate in Alaska. House Bill 132 allows drivers to operate as independent contractors and exempts them from workers’ compensation, similar to taxi drivers. “We heard loud and clear the support, we also heard the concerns. […]

  • Alaska Politics

    Alaska House votes to approve $2200 PFD

    by Liz Raines on Jun 14, 14:20

    The Alaska House has added hundreds of millions of dollars to the state capital budget to bump up this year’s permanent fund dividend to around $2,200 a person– a sharp increase from last year’s check of $1,022. Across party lines, the House on Wednesday voted 26-14 to add $700 million to allow for full payment […]

  • Alaska Politics

    AGDC urges lawmakers not to cut funding, as AKLNG piques Trump’s interest

    by Liz Raines on Jun 13, 19:23

    The Alaska Gasline Development Corporation (AGDC) is lobbying legislators to keep funding for the state’s natural gas project, Alaska LNG. As lawmakers struggle to reach agreement on a budget this week, $50 million for the project has become a controversial component. In a last ditch effort to persuade lawmakers, members of AGDC’s Board of Directors […]

  • Alaska Politics

    Alaska lawmakers optimistic about passing budget by Friday

    by Liz Raines on Jun 12, 18:58

    It’s crunch time for the Alaska legislature to pass a budget. This is the last week of a special session and if they can’t reach an agreement, the state could face its first-ever government shutdown. For lawmakers in Juneau, getting to a budget deal this week will be like solving a jigsaw puzzle. Right now, all […]

  • Alaska Politics

    Government shutdown would cost state hundreds of millions

    by Liz Raines on Jun 09, 18:25

    Alaska is just three weeks away from a government shutdown if lawmakers don’t pass a budget. And if government does shut down, it would cost the state hundreds of millions of dollars to do it — because of interruptions to revenue-generating departments, as well as unemployment and other benefits for state employees. With each day […]

  • Alaska Politics

    Gov. Walker prepares for government shutdown

    by Liz Raines on Jun 08, 20:31

    Governor Bill Walker is responding to a looming government shutdown just as he would a natural disaster. On Thursday afternoon, Walker told reporters he’s set up an incident command structure, the type of organization used to respond to disasters — with periodic meetings between departments. Walker said he doesn’t believe the threat of a shutdown […]

  • Business/Economy

    Looming gov’t shutdown threatens AK’s $500M salmon industry

    by Liz Raines on Jun 07, 17:54

    Alaska’s half-billion-dollar salmon season is in jeopardy if lawmakers don’t pass a state budget by the end of June. Without one, state government shuts down July 1. That’s also a big deadline for the fishermen statewide — that’s when they’ve got to be out on the water if they want to catch quality salmon. They need […]

  • Alaska Politics

    Governor asks for public’s help, after House Majority rejects budget compromise

    by Liz Raines on Jun 06, 21:03

    Governor Bill Walker is asking Alaskans to get involved, after the House Majority rejected his plan for compromise on a long-term budget agreement Monday. With the state now less than a month away from a government shutdown, lawmakers have yet to pass a state operating budget. Walker says Alaska is now in a time of […]

  • Alaska News

    Caelus halts landmark oil project amid legislative uncertainty

    by Liz Raines on Jun 06, 20:40

    Caelus Energy has halted plans for a project it says could double throughput in the Trans-Alaska Pipeline. The project is slated for development on Alaska’s North Slope, but, the company told Alaska Public Radio Network Monday, it’s making decisions based on what’s happening in Juneau. Lawmakers are currently debating funding for oil tax credits and […]

  • News

    House Majority rejects governor’s compromise

    by Liz Raines on Jun 05, 15:37

    Governor Bill Walker is meeting with each caucus of the Alaska legislature individually Monday to roll-out his compromise fiscal plan, as Walker promised Friday; but, the House Majority caucus has already rejected the governor’s proposal. “It’s not acceptable to the House majority,” House Majority Leader, Chris Tuck (D-Anchorage) said in an interview Monday afternoon. “He’s […]

  • Alaska Politics

    Governor declares budget stalemate, lawmakers take a break

    by Liz Raines on Jun 02, 21:09

    “It is clear that negotiations have reached a stalemate,” those were Governor Bill Walker’s words, released Friday, on the situation in Juneau. Walker is now promising a compromise budget package after he said he would step in when layoff warnings went out to state employees. In the meantime, lawmakers have taken a break until Tuesday, when […]

  • Alaska Politics

    Layoff notices mailed to thousands of state employees

    by Liz Raines on Jun 01, 21:12

    Thousands of layoff warnings are on their way to mailboxes around the state, notifying state employees not to come to work if lawmakers don’t pass a budget by July 1. There’s still a lot of uncertainty about what a shutdown would mean for the services Alaskans depend on. The state is still trying to draft contingency […]

  • Business/Economy

    Government shutdown could impact private sector, too

    by Liz Raines on May 31, 20:23

    The Alaska Department of Administration is preparing to send out notices to thousands of state employees Thursday, warning of layoffs if lawmakers don’t pass a budget by July 1. But it’s more than just state employees that will have to stop working if that happens. The effects of a shutdown are far reaching in the […]

  • Alaska Politics

    18K state employees alerted to possible government shutdown

    by Liz Raines on May 30, 19:17

    Don’t show up to work on July 1 if lawmakers haven’t passed a budget– those were the instructions sent out Tuesday to thousands of state employees. The Department of Administration is preparing to send out 18,000 layoff notices, known as pink slips, Thursday, according to a Grace Jang, a spokesperson for Governor Bill Walker. Jang […]