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Alaska News Nightly: January 16, 2013

January 16, 2013

Individual news stories are posted on the APRN news page. You can subscribe to APRN’s newsfeeds via emailpodcast and RSS. Follow us on Facebook at alaskapublic.org and on Twitter @aprn.

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State Legislators Introduce ‘Alaska Firearms Freedom Act’

Alexandra Gutierrez, APRN – Juneau

President Barack Obama today signed off on nearly two dozen executive orders meant to curb gun violence. These orders launch a gun ownership safety campaign, require the Centers for Disease Control to examine the causes of gun violence, and call for law enforcement officials to receive better training for active shooter scenarios.

He also called on Congress to pass a ban on assault weapons. But Alaska lawmakers today introduced a bill that would circumvent any stronger gun control measures. The Alaska Firearms Freedom Act would make it a crime to enforce any federal prohibitions on things like assault rifles and high-capacity gun magazines.

A previous version of the bill already passed the House in 2010, and similar legislation is being introduced in states like Texas and Wyoming. But whether a ban on federal gun control measures would even be legal is in serious doubt. Adam Winkler is a professor of constitutional law at UCLA and the author of the book Gunfight. He says that under the supremacy clause of the Constitution, the federal government could just choose to ignore the Alaska law if it passes.

Health Care Opportunity In Alaska Erased In Fiscal Cliff Deal

Annie Feidt, APRN – Anchorage

A group of health reform advocates went through heroic efforts to meet the deadline for applying for an innovative program under the Affordable Care Act. They were hoping to start what’s called a health cooperative in Alaska- an organization that would offer an alternative to buying insurance from the major carriers. But a day after the application was submitted, the fiscal cliff deal in Washington erased all new funding for the program.

American Gas Association Predicts Moderate Increase In Natural Gas Price

Peter Granitz, APRN – Washington DC

The head of the American Gas Association predicts a modest uptick in the price of natural gas this year. Tt’s unlikely to have an effect on a proposed Alaska pipeline.

State Reviews Plans To Bring North Slope LNG To Fairbanks

Dan Bross & Emily Schwing, KUAC – Fairbanks

The state is reviewing proposals for liquefying North Slope gas, trucking it to Fairbanks, and distributing it to consumers.  The Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority last month solicited letters of interest in the project, and agency spokesman Karsten Rodvik says they received 16 replies by a Jan. 8deadline.

Board To Consider 70 Arctic Yukon-Kuskokwim Fisheries Proposals

Angela Denning-Barnes, KYUK – Bethel

This week in Anchorage, the Alaska Board of Fisheries will consider 70 Arctic Yukon Kuskokwim fishery proposals. One proposal of special interest to the Kuskokwim looks to update the river’s Salmon Management Plan, including making some changes to the King salmon fishery.

Ferry System Gets New Boss, Management Structure

Ed Schoenfeld, CoastAlaska – Juneau

Juneau’s Reuben Yost is the new chief of the state ferry system. But he’ll spend only about half his time on that job. Transportation Commissioner Pat Kemp named the long-time department employee to the deputy commissioner post Tuesday.

Yakutat Dog Survives Fall, 24 Hours In Well

Anne Brice, KCAW – Sitka

A Yakutat family is counting its blessings after nearly losing one of its own during the Jan. 4 earthquake.

Two Donations Total $600K For Sitka Building Improvements

Ed Ronco, KCAW – Sitka

Two donors have sent hundreds of thousands of dollars – each – to improve a couple of buildings in Sitka.

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