News Minute: Here is the latest Alaska news from The Associated Press at 3:40 p.m. AKST
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) - Gov. Mike Dunleavy's initial budget draft includes a full payout from Alaska's oil-wealth fund for residents next year, but not money Alaskans missed out on during the three years checks were capped. The draft was described as a starting point released ahead of a Saturday deadline that works off the budget document that Gov. Bill Walker's administration pulled together before Walker left office. But Dunleavy's draft relies on a more conservative oil price.
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) - Three Alaska groups are suing the Environmental Protection Agency to demand it enforce the cleanup of polluted air around the state's second-largest city. The lawsuit filed Friday in Seattle by the Earthjustice group says Fairbanks-area winter air is among the most polluted in the U.S. The lawsuit says the state of Alaska has failed to submit a serious plan to improve air quality.
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) - A former Alaska elections director is returning to that role. Lt. Gov. Kevin Meyer announced he has appointed Gail Fenumiai (feh-NEW-mee-eye) as director of the Division of Elections. She is set to start Jan. 2. Fenumiai held the job from 2008 to 2015. Meyer chief of staff Josh Applebee says the change in leadership is not expected to be a problem in ongoing litigation over a Fairbanks House seat.
KENAI, Alaska (AP) - The city of Soldotna is planning a special election March 9 to seek voter backing for construction of a field house. The Peninsula Clarion reports voters will be asked if the city should issue $10 million bond in bonds and increase sales tax by a half percent. The cost of a field house is estimated at $11.8 million. Sales tax now stands at 3 percent and would increase to 3.5 percent.
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