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ALASKA POLITICS

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Alaska's lawmakers debate budget 'compromise'

State

New bill would move billions out of Permanent Fund reserve

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1 week until state employees receive potential layoff notices

State

Alaska lawmakers hint budget deal is close

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Majority members outline concerns with budget option

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  • State

    Alaska’s lawmakers debate budget ‘compromise’

    by Kate McPherson on May 27, 21:53

    A new budget bill will be debated in the House of Representatives Thursday morning in Anchorage. Republican leaders have offered a “compromise” budget — CS House Bill 2001 — that adds $16.5 million back into education funding to increase the Base Student Allocation (BSA) to a level required by state statue. House Minority Democrats aren’t […]

  • State

    New bill would move billions out of Permanent Fund reserve

    by Kate McPherson on May 27, 7:10

    In a move that signals budget negotiations are failing, a bill was introduced Tuesday that would allow the Republican-led majority in the House to go around the Democrats to access the Constitutional Budget Reserve (CBR). The Democratic coalition in the House is holding off on voting yes to using the CBR until some of their […]

  • State

    1 week until state employees receive potential layoff notices

    by Kate McPherson on May 25, 22:37

    In one week, some of Alaska’s state employees will receive notice of potential layoffs. It can be prevented, however, if Alaska lawmakers come to an agreement on the operating budget and how to fund it. “Nobody wants a government shutdown,” said Majority Leader Rep. Charisse Millett on Monday. ”We are working incredibly hard to make sure […]

  • State

    Alaska lawmakers hint budget deal is close

    by Dave Leval on May 23, 20:54

    The Alaska House reconvened in Anchorage Saturday for the third day of its second special session. It turned out to be a light lineup; the House session wrapped up after about 25 minutes. The big issue facing Alaska lawmakers is still passing a fully funded budget. They have until June 1 to reach a deal; otherwise, […]

  • State

    Majority members outline concerns with budget option

    by Associated Press on May 21, 17:28

    Six members of the Alaska House majority have sent a letter to Speaker Mike Chenault expressing serious concerns with the potential use of the Permanent Fund earnings reserve to help balance the state budget. This could create a new wrinkle in efforts to pass a funded budget. Use of the earnings reserve has been seen […]

  • State

    Legislature votes to start new special session in Anchorage

    by Lauren Maxwell on May 21, 12:26

    Updated Thursday, May 21 at 10 p.m. Alaska legislators have given themselves an extra 30 days to get their business done. With just a week left to go, members of the House and Senate voted to stop the clock on Gov. Bill Walker’s special session and start a new special session in Anchorage, effective immediately. […]

  • State

    Murkowski spokesman: Plans for 24-hour crossings at Hyder

    by Associated Press on May 21, 10:44

    A spokesman for U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski says the Canadian government plans to allow for 24-hour crossings at the border of Hyder, Alaska, and Stewart, British Columbia. Murkowski spokesman Matthew Felling says Canadian Ambassador Gary Doer informed Murkowski of the plan Wednesday. Felling says details are being finalized. Local officials in Alaska and Canada said […]

  • State

    Erin’s Law creator speaks out against new changes by Legislature

    by Kate McPherson on May 20, 7:05

    Updated Wednesday, May 20 at 10 p.m. Butch and Cindy Moore, whose daughter Breanna was killed in South Anchorage last year, once again testified in front of legislators in support of making sexual assault and teen dating violence awareness a mandatory class in schools. “We have a lot of different curriculums that are either free […]

  • State

    Alaska lawmakers consider fully funding state budget using Permanent Fund

    by Alexis Fernandez on May 19, 23:18

    House Speaker Mike Chenault says Alaska lawmakers are considering all options to fully fund the state budget, including shifting money around the Permanent Fund. This maneuver allows the legislative majority to pull money from the Permanent Fund earnings reserve — which is where PFD checks come from — and put it into the Permanent Fund […]

  • State

    Walker won’t force Juneau as special session venue

    by Associated Press on May 19, 15:37

    Gov. Bill Walker will allow the Legislature to leave Juneau and convene the special session in Anchorage. His spokeswoman, Grace Jang, tells The Associated Press by email that the top priority is that lawmakers pass a fully-funded budget, no matter the location. Walker later told the AP he isn’t giving lawmakers his blessing to work […]

  • State

    Gov. Walker: Layoff notices expected for most state employees if budget goes unfunded

    by Kate McPherson, Hope Miller on May 18, 11:46

    Updated Monday, May 18 at 10 p.m. The governor says most state employees –15,000 in a worst-case scenario — will receive a layoff notice in early June if lawmakers fail to pass a fully funded budget by that time. Gov. Bill Walker’s Monday letter to state employees comes after the Legislature has so far failed […]

  • State

    ‘Most dysfunctional Legislature in history,’ Backbone Alaska says

    by Kate McPherson on May 16, 19:45

    Alaska’s lawmakers are being called the most dysfunctional Legislature in state history. An unfunded budget and a multi-billion dollar deficit brought Vic Fischer and other prominent Alaskans together on Friday as part of a group called Backbone — and they didn’t hold back criticism of lawmakers. “They will not talk to each other, they will […]

  • State

    Alaska’s Medicaid expansion plans take a blow

    by Kate McPherson on May 14, 21:08

    Medicaid expansion is unlikely to be voted on this year after House Finance Committee co-chair Steve Thompson used his power to block House Bill 148 from a vote. “Hearings this week have made it very clear that Medicaid is a bigger problem than we knew, it is a highly complex system, facing significant challenges,” Thompson […]

  • State

    House Finance stalls Walker’s Medicaid expansion proposal

    by Associated Press on May 14, 14:25

    House Finance Committee co-chair Steve Thompson says the committee isn’t comfortable moving ahead with plans to expand Medicaid coverage in Alaska. The announcement deals an apparent blow to Gov. Bill Walker, who made expansion a priority. Medicaid was one of the issues Walker asked lawmakers to consider during the current special session. During a brief […]

  • State

    Medicaid rallies continue in Anchorage as vote appears more unlikely

    by Kate McPherson on May 13, 21:53

    Community faith groups continued to rally outside of the legislative offices Wednesday in Anchorage, calling on lawmakers to expand Medicaid. “Some of them are listening,” said Paul Oliva. ”Unfortunately, a lot of them have a political agenda that they want to push through, and that’s getting in the way.” Oliva knows what it’s like to live […]

  • State

    Gov. Bill Walker to Alaska Legislature: ‘Please do your job’

    by Kate McPherson, Sierra Starks on May 12, 16:41

    Two weeks ago, when Alaska lawmakers adjourned their legislative session, they did so without passing a fully funded operating budget. In response, Gov. Bill Walker called a special session to begin on April 28 to address the budget, Medicaid expansion and reform and Erin’s Law. Shortly after, the Legislature authorized lawmakers to recess until May 12 […]

  • State

    When it comes to Medicaid, some lawmakers demand reform with expansion

    by Emily Carlson on May 12, 7:54

    Alaska’s commissioner of the Department of Health and Social Services says her office has fixed most of the problems with a system that handles Medicaid payments. Monday was the first hearing on Medicaid expansion at the technical session in Anchorage, and lawmakers on the House Finance Committee had a lot of questions. DHSS Commissioner Valerie Davidson […]

  • State

    Walker signs bill promoting Alaska as Arctic issues leader

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on May 11, 17:30

    Gov. Bill Walker signed a bill into law on Monday outlining Alaska’s priorities for Arctic exploration and development. Sponsored by Rep. Bob Herron, House Bill 1 seeks to establish Alaska as a leader in Arctic issues and policies. “The entirety of the state is affected by the activities and prosperity in the Arctic region, and […]

  • State

    House, Senate minorities plan their own hearings

    by Associated Press on May 11, 15:02

    Members of the House and Senate minorities are planning hearings of their own, citing frustration with the lack of progress during the special session. The 30-day special session called by the governor began April 28, after lawmakers passed a partially funded budget for the fiscal year starting July 1. Days later, lawmakers voted to recess […]

  • State

    Legislators don’t plan to do their work in Juneau

    by Lauren Maxwell on May 08, 19:59

    The twists, turns, and drama of the 2015 session continued Friday as legislators told the governor they’re not going back to Juneau to finish the special session. Instead, they’ll meet in Anchorage until they can agree on a budget and how to fund it. They will hold what is called a “technical session” in the […]