Alaska News Nightly: Thursday, Sept. 24, 2015

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Walker calls special session on new gas tax, gas line buyout

Gov. Bill Walker on Thursday formally called the Alaska Legislature back to Juneau for a third special session this year. His proclamation calls for considering two topics: A tax targeting undeveloped natural gas still in the ground, and buying out Canadian pipeline builder TransCanada’s ownership stake in a proposed natural gas pipeline.

Pope wows Alaska senators — and Rep. Young’s wife

Liz Ruskin, APRN-Washington
Alaska’s congressional delegation had an audience with the Pope Thursday morning. Actually, all of Congress did, along with the president’s cabinet and the Supreme Court. But Senator Lisa Murkowski did have a close encounter with Pope Francis, a personal moment that left her awestruck. Murkowski was among a group of senators assigned to greet the Pope at the Capitol.

Murkowski votes to protect Planned Parenthood funding

Liz Ruskin, APRN-Washington
After the Pope left the Capitol, the U.S. Senate took another procedural vote on a bill to defund Planned Parenthood, this one linked to a stop-gap measure to fund the government. Sen. Lisa Murkowski was one of eight Republicans to vote against advancing the bill. She sided with Democrats who say cutting Planned Parenthood funds would limit access to healthcare and contraception.

Sockeye wildfire defendants ask for delay

Ellen Lockyer, KSKA-Anchorage
The state’s case against the two defendants in the Sockeye wildfire may not go to trial until sometime next year. At a court hearing in Palmer on Thursday  attorneys for defendants Amy DeWitt and Greg Imig asked Judge David  Zwink for more time to prepare their case.

Mexican Counsulate to close in Anchorage

Anne Hillman, KSKA-Anchorage
The Mexican Consulate in Anchorage is closing to the public at the end of November because of budgetary reasons.

Questions raised about Nome’s hosting patrol vessels

Emily Russell, KNOM-Nome
Throughout the summer, Nome’s horizon is dotted with oil tankers, cargo vessels, and foreign icebreakers —anchoring off-shore to avoid the port’s shallow depth. A recent stopover by the U.S. Coast Guard cutter Munro raised questions about the Nome’s inability to host patrol vessels that help ensure the nation’s security in the Arctic.

Contentious minor offenses ordinance to start in 2016

Jillian Rogers, KHNS-Haines
The contentious minor offenses ordinance, an order that assigns fines to more than 200 violations, will take effect Jan. 1 with an amendment to clarify who exactly can write the tickets. The ordinance passed Tuesday evening during a four-hour emotional rollercoaster of a meeting.

Bristol Bay sockeye included in school lunches

Molly Dischner, KDLG-Dillingham
Thousands of cans of Bristol Bay sockeye will make their way to school lunches and other federal food programs around the country this winter as part of a USDA bailout.

Author Seth Kantner out with new book

Lori Townsend, APRN-Anchorage
Most authors struggle to get their work noticed…at all…and would love to get a phone call by a publisher, asking them to write something…but for Northwest Arctic resident and writer Seth Kantner…maybe not.