Alaska News Nightly: April 1, 2009

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Justice Department Throws Out Stevens Case
Libby Casey, APRN – Washington D.C.
Former Alaska Senator Ted Stevens may walk away from seven felony convictions a free man with a clean record. The Justice Department wants his guilty verdict thrown out. It will not pursue a new trial, and wants all charges dropped. The office of Attorney General Eric Holder announced the decision this morning.

Alaskans React with Relief
Annie Feidt, APRN – Anchorage
Friends of Senator Stevens say he’s traveling in Alaska right now. But his Girdwood home that was at the center of the federal case against him was dark today. A few miles down the road, at the base of Alyeska Ski Resort, longtime Girdwood residents gathered at the Bake Shop to reflect on the news.

State Senators Reject Grussendorf
Dave Donaldson, APRN – Juneau
The nine members of the state Senate rejected the governor’s choice to take the place of Juneau’s Kim Elton. She had selected Tim Grussendorf, a legislative staff member and a former Democratic candidate for the District Four House seat.

Lawmakers Tell Washington They Want Options on Stimulus Funds
Dave Donaldson, APRN – Juneau
Governor Palin yesterday (Tuesday) met what was required of her to set aside federal economic stimulus money for state use. She wrote President Barak Obama that she will accept the money that will create new, private sector jobs and grow the economy.

Bill Makes it Harder to get Initiatives on the Ballot
Ed Schoenfeld, APRN – CoastAlaska
A new version of a Southeast lawmaker’s bill to change the initiative process will make it harder for groups to get measures on the ballot. That’s drawing opposition from some of those groups.

Senators Make Education a Priority in Budget
Dave Donaldson, APRN – Juneau
The Senate today (Wednesday) passed and sent back to the House its version of next year’s operating budget. The Senate budget spends seven point nine Billion dollars in state money – about the same amount the House approved less than three weeks ago.

U.S. Supreme Court Hears Valdez Tax Case|
Libby Casey, APRN – Washington D.C.
The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments this morning in a Valdez tax case. The question is whether the city of Valdez can tax tanker vessels that come into its port.

New Fishing Rule in Southeast Protects Against Invasive Species
Joe Viechnicki, KFSK – Petersburg
Sport anglers who wade through southeast Alaska’s creeks and rivers may have to get some new fishing gear in the next two years. That follows a decision by the state Board of Fisheries at its February meeting in Sitka.