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  • Alaska Politics

    Senate considers Permanent Fund spending bill with minimum PFD guarantee

    by Liz Raines on Feb 09, 21:34

      JUNEAU — Alaska lawmakers from all parties agree they need to focus on bridging the state’s unprecedented budget shortfall this legislative session. The fastest way to do it is by using the Permanent Fund’s earnings to pay for government, instead of the Permanent Fund dividend program. In December, Gov. Bill Walker introduced a proposal that […]

  • Alaska Politics

    Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation lets public weigh in on bills to change fund spending

    by Liz Raines on Feb 09, 20:50

      Updated at 6:25 a.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 10 JUNEAU — The Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation will hold a meeting at 1 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 19 at the Atwood building in Anchorage to discuss three bills in the Legislature that would impact the workings of the fund. Those bills include the governor’s proposed Senate Bill […]

  • Alaska Politics

    Alaska Democrats call for ‘caucus of the whole’ to solve budget crisis

    by Liz Raines on Feb 08, 20:00

      Updated at 6:40 a.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 9 JUNEAU — Minority leaders from the Alaska House and Senate are proposing the creation of a “caucus of the whole” for the remainder of the 2016 legislative session. Minority members from both sides said Monday that the traditional majority and minority caucus system is preventing fiscal […]

  • Alaska Politics

    Alaska House proposes suspension of all non-budget work

    by Liz Raines on Feb 08, 13:07

      Updated at 2:30 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 8 JUNEAU — The House Rules Committee introduced a resolution (HCR 23) Monday to suspend the hearing of any non-budget, non-revenue generating bills until the passage of an operating budget. The House cancelled all non-budget related committee meetings Monday, except for a hearing on Senate Bill 23, […]

  • Alaska Politics

    Bill would require students to repay grant money if they fail to graduate

    by Associated Press on Feb 08, 12:18

    Lawmakers are considering a bill that would require students to repay state scholarships and grants if they fail to graduate within six years of starting their programs. Members of the House Education Committee on Monday questioned Rep. Tammie Wilson about her bill. The measure would put the time limit requirements on students who receive money […]

  • Alaska Politics

    Marijuana meeting, scholarship bill things to know about

    by Associated Press on Feb 06, 10:02

    The director of the board tasked with regulating Alaska’s legal pot industry is hopeful that state lawmakers will address concerns regarding criminal background checks for marijuana business applicants. The board meets Thursday with the date to begin accepting applications drawing closer. Heath Hilyard, an aide to Rep. Cathy Tilton, says a marijuana bill that failed […]

  • Alaska Politics

    Legislature casts doubt on new proposal from Anchorage LIO owner

    by Liz Raines on Feb 05, 22:58

      JUNEAU — Last month, members of the Alaska Legislative Council said they would end their controversial lease on the Anchorage Legislative Information Office if it’s owner — 716 West Fourth Avenue, LLC — didn’t make offer a more “competitive” price. A new proposal from company owner Mark Pfeffer was made public Friday, but the […]

  • Alaska Politics

    ‘Idea Line’ lets Alaskans weigh in on government spending

    by Liz Raines on Feb 05, 22:24

      JUNEAU — Alaska lawmakers say they’re turning to the public for ideas on how to solve the state’s nearly $4 billion budget deficit. At a press conference Friday, members of the house majority presented the “idea line” – a 24-hour hotline where Alaskans can leave messages for lawmakers. The number to call is: 1-844-414-5949 […]

  • Alaska Politics

    ‘Don’t touch my PFD’ Public weighs in on Governor’s PFD proposal

    by Liz Raines on Feb 04, 23:02

    More than a hundred people from around the state called into Juneau Thursday evening to weigh in on Governor Walker’s SB128 – a bill that would use the Permanent Fund’s Earnings Reserve to fund government, instead of the PFD program. The bill is up for debate in the Senate State Affairs committee, chaired by Sen. […]

  • Alaska Politics

    Gov. Walker announces ‘change in leadership’ at Dept. of Education

    by Liz Raines on Feb 04, 22:19

      JUNEAU — Governor Walker announced a “change in leadership” for the Department of Education Thursday, just a few days after commissioner Michael Hanley announced the state would be scrapping the Alaska Measures of Progress (AMP), a standardized test Alaska students took just once. Commissioner Hanley says the governor asked him to resign Wednesday night. […]

  • Alaska Politics

    Walker administration submits $65.5 million supplemental budget request

    by Associated Press on Feb 04, 6:00

    Gov. Bill Walker’s administration is requesting an additional $65.5 million in spending for the current fiscal year. The supplemental request released Wednesday includes $47.5 million for costs related to the wildland firefighting season. Alaska had its second largest fire season in terms of acreage burned in 2015. The budget request includes funding to address increased […]

  • Alaska Politics

    State lawmaker says oil companies should pay for road to North Slope

    by Liz Raines on Feb 03, 20:20

    With the state facing a nearly $4 billion budget deficit, Rep. Les Gara says it’s time for oil companies to start chipping in, starting with maintenance of the Dalton Highway. Gara’s House Bill 144 proposes a fee for commercial traffic by oil and gas explorers. The bill was introduced during the 2015 legislative session but […]

  • Alaska Politics

    Alaska military code update unanimously passes House

    by Liz Raines on Feb 03, 12:18

    A new version of the Code of Military Justice (HB 126) passed the Alaska House unanimously Wednesday morning, with a vote of 39-0. HB 126 applies to the Alaska National Guard and was prompted by a scandal during Sean Parnell’s administration that showed widespread abuse and cover-up by authorities within the organization. The bill, sponsored […]

  • Politics

    Alaska Senate resolution calls for a US constitutional convention

    by Associated Press on Feb 03, 10:39

    An Alaska Senate committee is set to consider a resolution calling for a convention of the states to propose a countermand, or veto, amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The measure calls on legislators in the other 49 states to apply for a convention as well. In his sponsor statement, Chugiak Republican Senator Bill Stoltze says […]

  • Alaska Politics

    House to vote on bill updating Alaska’s military justice code

    by Associated Press on Feb 03, 9:35

    Lawmakers in the House are expected to vote Wednesday on a bill to update Alaska’s Uniform Code of Military Justice. Proponents of the bill say the changes will strengthen the code. Alaska’s code was established in 1955 and has remained largely unchanged since then. An issue with the state’s current code has been a lack […]

  • Alaska Politics

    45-day Anchorage LIO deadline came and went with no action

    by Liz Raines on Feb 02, 21:41

    The deadline members of the Legislative Council set for themselves to make a decision on the controversial Anchorage Legislative Information Office (LIO) building came and went Tuesday, with no action taken. On Dec. 19, legislators passed a motion to allow the building owner 45 days to offer a “competitive price” for buying the building, or […]

  • Alaska Politics

    Fairbanks Four-inspired PFD bill passes first legislative hurdle

    by Liz Raines on Feb 02, 21:09

    A bill inspired by the Fairbanks Four passed its first legislative hurdle Tuesday. House Bill 243, sponsored by Rep. Bob Lynn, moved out of the House State Affairs Committee Tuesday morning. It would repay lost Permanent Fund dividend money to people with overturned criminal convictions. Lynn said he’s never met the four men personally, but […]

  • Alaska Politics

    Attorney who defended state’s ban on gay marriage misidentified as gay rights activist

    by Associated Press on Feb 02, 13:17

    An Alaska state senator suffered from a case of misidentification during a committee hearing Tuesday, confusing the name of assistant attorney general with an assassinated gay rights leader. Sen. Bill Stoltze, R-Chugiak, introduced the assistant attorney general at the Senate State Affairs meeting as “Attorney General Harvey Milk.” The man didn’t correct Stoltze other than […]

  • Alaska Politics

    Report: Legislator who fired staff for overspending spent most in travel

    by Liz Raines on Feb 01, 21:24

    A state senator who fired a staff member for overspending on a trip to Seattle in September spent more on travel than any other legislator last year. Sen. Lesil McGuire spent $39,908.24 in travel expenses, according to a report released Sunday evening by the Legislative Affairs Agency. When asked for an interview on the spending Monday […]

  • Alaska Politics

    Senator wants constitutional amendment on Governor’s Permanent Fund proposal

    by Liz Raines on Feb 01, 20:45

    Sen. Bill Stoltze says any changes to the Permanent Fund should be set in the constitution. As chair of the State Affairs Committee, his committee is the first stop for Gov. Bill Walker’s Senate Bill 128 on “replumbing” the Permanent Fund to bridge the state’s nearly $4 billion budget shortfall. Stoltze said he doesn’t want […]