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  • State

    Alaska House, Senate negotiators reach agreement on budget

    by Associated Press on Apr 25, 23:13

    House and Senate negotiators have reached agreement on a state operating budget, and proposed a way to fund government through the end of this fiscal year without potentially having to draw from the constitutional budget reserve fund. The committee proposed using $1.1 billion in forward-funding for education for the fiscal year beginning July 1, to […]

  • State

    Leaders raise potential of budget vote without reserve draw

    by Associated Press on Apr 24, 18:32

    Legislative leaders have raised the potential of passing a state spending plan without a vote authorizing a draw from Alaska’s constitutional budget reserve fund. House Speaker Mike Chenault said if the House and Senate majorities reach an agreement on education funding, they could finish up the budgets and leave. As of late Friday afternoon, an […]

  • State

    A handful of lawmakers negotiate while others wait

    by Kate McPherson on Apr 24, 7:42

    Friday marks the 95th day of the legislative session in Juneau, and many are hoping a budget deal can be made. Each extra day also means more than $13,000 is being spent on legislators’ per diem, on top of their salaries. Rep. Mark Neuman says he’s not surprised negotiations have gone into overtime. “This has […]

  • State

    Walker suggests bills for lawmakers to work on

    by Associated Press on Apr 22, 16:01

    Gov. Bill Walker is suggesting legislators, many of whom are in a holding pattern while budget talks are underway, take up a handful of bills while in extended session. In a letter to legislative leaders Wednesday, Walker called the extended session an “excellent opportunity” to address Medicaid expansion and reform. He said bills to address […]

  • State

    Senate Finance members defend budget proposal, including education cuts

    by Kate McPherson on Apr 21, 23:06

    Budget items, including education, are still under negotiation in Juneau. Day two of the extended legislative session brought sunshine to Juneau for the first time in over a week, but it didn’t bring an end to negotiations on the state’s budget. “The cold hard reality is that we can’t print money and there is only […]

  • State

    Special sessions: More likely than not

    by Rhonda McBride on Apr 21, 10:50

    Special sessions. How “special” are they really? In most years, the odds of a special session of the Alaska Legislature are pretty good. In the last decade, there have been more than a dozen. So how much does it cost the state when lawmakers go into those extra legislative innings? Pam Varni, head of the Legislative […]

  • State

    Day 1 of extended session: Still no deal on education funding

    by Kate McPherson on Apr 20, 22:59

    If you were new to Juneau and walking though the halls of the Capitol building Monday morning, you’d be excused for thinking the session was over. The sound of packing tape, not session bells, could be heard on every floor as legislators and staff closed boxes of files and computers. “There’s this legislative insanity, which […]

  • State

    Senate considers new committee on federal issues

    by Associated Press on Apr 20, 12:31

    Alaska’s Senate is poised to consider creating a special committee to address federal overreach. A resolution from the Senate Rules Committee would create a Senate Special Committee on Federal Overreach. The resolution calls for the new committee to submit reports to the Senate in January 2016 and 2017 about how to use state authority to […]

  • State

    End of session budget bottleneck keeps Legislature in overtime

    by Rhonda McBride on Apr 19, 22:01

    On the final day of the legislative session, lawmakers weren’t ready to cash in their chips yet. It appeared there were a few more hands of high-stakes political poker to play over the operating and capital budgets. On Sunday night, just hours before midnight when the 90-day session was set to expire, the House recessed […]

  • State

    Day 90: Latest from the Alaska Legislature

    by Associated Press on Apr 19, 17:55

    4:14 p.m. Alaska lawmakers have failed to confirm one of the governor’s appointees to the state fish board. In a joint session on Sunday, the House and Senate rejected Robert Ruffner’s appointment to the Alaska Board of Fisheries, with 29 votes in his favor, and 30 against. Ruffner, a Soldotna resident, is the executive director […]

  • State

    Alaska Legislature confirms Craig Richards as attorney general

    by Rhonda McBride on Apr 19, 15:10

    One of Gov. Bill Walker’s most controversial appointments, Craig Richards, has been confirmed by the Legislature as attorney general. Thirty-one votes are required for confirmation. Richards was confirmed 36-23 in a joint session of the Legislature, which got underway at 1:30 p.m. on Sunday. There was speculation Richards might not be confirmed, because the Republican Majority […]

  • State

    Alaska lawmakers approve new marijuana control board

    by Associated Press on Apr 19, 14:46

    Alaska lawmakers have approved creation of a marijuana board to write regulations for the new industry. The state Senate on Saturday voted in favor of the bill proposed by Gov. Bill Walker to create a new marijuana control board, and the House on Sunday agreed with the version of the bill passed in the Senate. […]

  • State

    Medicaid expansion and reform likely taken up in special session

    by Rhonda McBride on Apr 19, 14:05

    It’s Day 90 of the legislative session, with work on capital and operating budgets still underway. House and Senate Majority leaders say there isn’t time to give the governor’s bill on Medicaid expansion and reform its due. On Saturday, Gov. Bill Walker said he was preparing for a special session and would soon be talking […]

  • State

    AKLeg: Erin’s law passes House

    by Kate McPherson on Apr 19, 6:30

    School boards are a step closer to having a mandatory program that teaches children about sexual abuse. Saturday, the Alaska House of Representatives passed HB 44, the Alaska Safe Children’s Act, which requires schools to teach K-12 students about sexual assault and prevention, as well as awareness about dating violence. The bill is referred to […]

  • State

    Day 89: Latest from the Alaska Legislature

    by Associated Press on Apr 18, 12:59

      10:08 p.m. A meeting of House and Senate negotiators was canceled late Saturday, without major issues, like education funding, being resolved. The Legislature’s rules call for a conference report on the budget to sit at least 24 hours after being delivered to the chief clerk of the House or Senate secretary, though it may […]

  • State

    AKLeg Day 88: Race to the finish of session begins with drama, uncertainty

    by Rhonda McBride on Apr 18, 12:21

    Friday, the 88th day of the 90-day legislative session, was full of the drama that characterizes the end-of-session chaos. The day started out with the governor calling off a joint session of the House and Senate he had ordered, to get lawmakers to vote on his cabinet and board appointments. The governor demanded the session […]

  • State

    Governor Walker vetoes House Bill 132

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Apr 17, 16:47

    Gov. Bill Walker has vetoed a bill constricting the authority of the Alaska Gasline Development Corporation in developing a gas line separate from the Alaska Liquified Natural Gas line. Walker had announced his plans to veto House Bill 132 if it reached his desk in a letter to lawmakers April 10, saying it ”significantly reduces Alaska’s […]

  • State

    Governor cancels joint session for confirmation votes

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Apr 17, 10:22

    Gov. Bill Walker has cancelled his order to gather the House and Senate for a joint session to vote on his appointments after legislative leadership promised that lawmakers would weigh in on the appointments Sunday. “I just wrapped up a meeting with House Speaker Mike Chenault and Senate President Kevin Meyer,” Walker said in a […]

  • State

    Medicaid expansion supporters grow more vocal as session comes to a close

    by Rhonda McBride on Apr 17, 7:57

    The pressure on lawmakers to pass Gov. Bill Walker’s Medicaid expansion bill continues to grow as church coalitions ask their congregations to write letters and attend rallies in support. One is planned at Wasilla Lake at noon on Friday at Newcomb Park. Two were held on Thursday, one in Anchorage and another on the Capitol […]

  • State

    Governor orders joint session: Another showdown between executive, legislative branches

    by Rhonda McBride on Apr 17, 7:36

    The Legislature will convene in joint session at 10 a.m. Friday morning at the call of Gov. Bill Walker. He wants them to vote on his cabinet and board appointments. Republican Majority leaders had originally scheduled the confirmation vote for Friday afternoon, but suddenly postponed it in the middle of a battle with the governor […]