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Rhonda McBride

Alaska truly is the Last Frontier of great storytelling. Although I’ve been a reporter in Alaska since 1988, my “to do” list of stories is ever a work in progress.

Stories by Rhonda McBride

  • State

    Bill to decriminalize marijuana clears the Senate

    by Rhonda McBride on Mar 30, 14:31

      A bill to decriminalize marijuana cleared the state Senate Monday by a 17 to 3 margin. Senate Bill 30 has gone through various permutations, seesawing between taking pot off the state’s list of controlled substances to putting it back on. Opponents to the bill, three Democrats, said the legislation did not comply with the […]

  • State

    Low-income workers say Medicaid expansion would help

    by Rhonda McBride on Mar 30, 9:14

    The House Health and Social Services Committee heard from a number of working Alaskans who fall in the Medicaid coverage gap. The committee took several hours of testimony on Saturday on House Bill 148, legislation to reform and expand Medicaid, introduced by Gov. Bill Walker. Most of those who weighed in said they support Medicaid […]

  • State

    Senate Judiciary Committee probes spike in Anchorage crime

    by Rhonda McBride on Mar 30, 6:54

    A troubling picture about the surge in Anchorage violence was painted for the Senate Judiciary Committee on Friday. The hearing came at the request of the Senate’s Anchorage minority members, but Sen. Lesil McGuire, chairman of the committee and an Anchorage Republican, scheduled it. Sen. Johnny Ellis thanked McGuire for carving out time to shine […]

  • State

    Senate bill imposes five-year moratorium on school debt reimbursement

    by Rhonda McBride on Mar 25, 22:39

    Just as Anchorage voters are being asked to approve a $59 million school construction bond, a bill cleared the Senate on Wednesday that might chill enthusiasm for passage. It’s been a long-standing policy for the state to reimburse school districts for a large share of school construction costs, but the Senate passed Senate Bill 64, a […]

  • State

    State of the salmon in Alaska: Mixed reports

    by Rhonda McBride on Mar 25, 10:29

    Catch it. Eat it. Sell it. Smoke it. Share it. It’s hard to image Alaska without salmon, because it’s part of the Alaskan identity. A special legislative committee on fisheries recognized the importance of salmon at a series of presentations on Tuesday, called “State of the Salmon.” Lindsey Bloom, a Juneau fisheries consultant who fished […]

  • State

    4 bills to educate students about sexual assault in legislative holding pattern

    by Rhonda McBride on Mar 24, 7:39

    With less than a month to go in the 90-day session, it’s likely many bills will get lost in the chaotic push toward adjournment. That’s what happened last year to two versions of a bill known as Erin’s Law – one in the House, sponsored by Rep. Geran Tarr, and another in the Senate, backed […]

  • State

    Sen. Dan Sullivan gives first speech to Alaska Legislature

    by Rhonda McBride on Mar 23, 19:15

    For Sen. Dan Sullivan it was partly a right of passage, partly a homecoming. He had spoken to lawmakers many times in committee hearings while serving as attorney general and natural resources commissioner, but never as an entire group. Two Mat-Su Valley lawmakers, Rep. Lynn Gattis and Sen. Charlie Huggins, escorted Sullivan into a joint […]

  • State

    Lawmakers hear hopeful message about breaking cycle of violence

    by Rhonda McBride on Mar 19, 8:12

    Domestic violence may be pervasive in Alaska, but it’s also preventable. That’s the message victims’ advocates brought to a luncheon presentation at the State Capitol on Wednesday sponsored by Sen. Kevin Meyer. Lawmakers and their staff got an overview of programs offered by Pathways to Prevention, run by the Alaska Network on Domestic Violence and […]

  • State

    Rep. Lora Reinbold loses committee chairmanships and all but one committee seat

    by Rhonda McBride on Mar 16, 11:44

    Rep. Lora Reinbold of Eagle River was expelled from the House Republican Majority Caucus Monday morning after her vote against the state operating budget early Friday morning. One of the hard and fast rules of being part of the majority is that members must vote with the caucus on the budget. When Reinbold voted against […]

  • State

    Golfing with the governor

    by Rhonda McBride on Mar 15, 12:41

    Instead of the greens, they putted on the blues — the color of the carpet at the State Capitol. There was even a throne, fashioned from a toilet bowl and an arc of golf clubs. The governor, the House Speaker and the Senate President took turns sitting on what’s been dubbed as the “Game of Thrones.” […]

  • State

    Coalition of churches comes to Capitol to fight for Medicaid

    by Rhonda McBride on Mar 10, 7:51

    They came to the Capitol on blind faith they could change the Medicaid expansion debate. Faith is something this group knows something about. The Anchorage Faith and Action Congregations Together, or AFACT, represents about 15 congregations and counts about 10,000 churchgoers as members. A delegation of 14 people came to the Capitol this week in […]

  • State

    Bill to prioritize AKLNG over ASAP gets first hearing

    by Rhonda McBride on Mar 09, 8:54

    When Gov. Bill Walker announced he wanted to put a backup gas line project in competition with the Alaska Liquefied Natural Gas project, he opened a Pandora’s box of questions for lawmakers focused on AKLNG as the main vehicle for getting North Slope gas to market. House majority leaders responded by introducing legislation to prevent […]

  • State

    Juneau police give marijuana show-and-tell for House Judiciary committee

    by Rhonda McBride on Mar 07, 12:50

    Whether it’s to use it, restrict it, buy it or sell it, almost every day, there’s a hearing on marijuana at the State Capitol. But Friday’s House Judiciary committee meeting was a little different. A detective from the Juneau Police Department brought some samples for a marijuana show-and-tell. Despite all the time Alaska lawmakers have […]

  • State

    Legislature passes halfway point

    by Rhonda McBride on Mar 06, 8:17

    Just like the Iditarod, there are trail markers along the way during a legislative session. Thursday was Day 45, the halfway point of the 90-day session. And just like the Iditarod this year, there are unusual circumstances this session, which are requiring lawmakers to do things differently than they’ve done in the past. Among the […]

  • State

    Powerful conservative group sponsors Medicaid expansion luncheon at State Capitol

    by Rhonda McBride on Mar 04, 21:54

    Buyer beware. That was Christie Herrera’s advice to lawmakers and staffers who gathered for a “Lunch and Learn” presentation on Medicaid expansion at the State Capitol Wednesday. Herrera works for the Foundation for Government Accountability, based in Florida. On its website, FGA says its mission is to replace failed health and welfare programs nationwide with […]

  • State

    Daylight saving time marches on in the state Legislature

    by Rhonda McBride on Mar 03, 21:40

    If Sen. Anna MacKinnon had her way, we wouldn’t set our clocks ahead by an hour this Sunday. This annual ritual would be no more. The Eagle River Republican has been fighting to abolish daylight saving time since 2006 when she served in the House and introduced a bill to eliminate it. The measure failed […]

  • State

    Governor and House majority leaders square off over gas line legislation

    by Rhonda McBride on Mar 02, 19:12

     Updated Tuesday, March 3 at 6:30 a.m. The philosophical divide between the governor and the Republican majority was already huge — but with the introduction of House Bill 132 Monday, the gap grew even wider. Five members of the House leadership sponsored HB 132: House Speaker Mike Chenault, House Majority Leader Charisse Millett, Legislative Budget […]

  • State

    Juneau: Showdown over Medicaid expansion

    by Rhonda McBride on Feb 26, 22:53

    It’s no secret. Republicans in the House majority are not champions of Medicaid expansion. They say the system is broken and the costs threaten to gobble up bigger slices of the state budget every year. But expanding the federal program in Alaska is one of Gov. Bill Walker’s top priorities. His administration says it would […]

  • State

    UPDATE: Barrow lawmaker Rep. Ben Nageak remains hospitalized

    by Rhonda McBride on Feb 25, 11:57

    Last Updated: Feb. 26, 2015 at 7 a.m. Normally when Rep. Ben Nageak speaks on the House floor, his colleagues expect to hear his booming voice — especially on the subject of developing oil and gas in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. But on Tuesday, when the Barrow lawmaker’s voice suddenly faltered while talking about […]

  • State

    In Juneau, marijuana legislation still a work in progress

    by Rhonda McBride on Feb 24, 22:08

    “Marijuana for personal use is legal, as of today,” said Sen. Anna MacKinnon as she opened a Senate Finance committee hearing on Tuesday morning, acknowledging that the marijuana initiative voters approved last fall is now officially state law. MacKinnon is co-chair of the committee, which just received Senate Bill 30 from the Senate Judiciary committee, […]