Alaska News Nightly: January 21, 2014

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 and on Twitter @aprn.

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Minority Leader Beth Kerttula To Leave Legislature

Alexandra Gutierrez, APRN – Juneau

The State House Gaveled into the second session of the 28th legislature at 1pm today, with this short statement from House Speaker, and Kenai Republican Mike Chenault.

Tuck, French Address Kerttula’s Departure, Legislative Priorities

Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage

With Kerttula’s resignation, the Democrats will have a new leadership team in the Legislature. Hollis French took over as Senate Minority leader from Johnny Ellis in a pre-arranged deal this session. And now Chris Tuck will become minority leader in the House. Representative Tuck says the Democrats are ready to move forward without Kerttula.

Chenault, Huggins Discuss Education, Gas Line, And Fish Politics

Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage

As lawmakers begin the 90 day session, House Speaker Mike Chenault and Senate President Charlie Huggins say there is just one must pass bill this session- the budget. But the majority party has other items on their agenda, along with a commitment to fiscal restraint. I asked Speaker Chenault to outline his priorities.

Anchorage School District Set to Lay Off More Than 200

Daysha Eaton, KSKA – Anchorage

The Superintendent of the Anchorage School District announced today a plan for trimming 23 million dollars. The cuts are mostly the result of several years of flat funding from the State of Alaska that does not keep up with inflation and cuts to federal grant programs along with rising health care costs. The district will cut more than 200 positions, including classroom teachers.

Is Alaska’s Economy Grounded?

Casey Kelly, KTOO – Juneau

Is Alaska’s economy grounded? That’s the big question facing two economists who spoke to business and government leaders in Juneau last week as part of the World Trade Center Alaska’s annual statewide economic forecast talk.