Alaska News Nightly: Thursday, Feb. 4, 2016

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Obama proposes big new tax on oil

Liz Ruskin, APRN-Washington, DC
President Obama wants to impose a $10-per-barrel tax on crude oil. The White House says the tax is included in the budget the president will propose next week.

Fate of Medicaid expansion hangs on interpretation of one word

Annie Feidt, APRN-Anchorage
The Legislative Council’s case against Medicaid expansion hangs on the interpretation of the word requires in Alaska statute. That’s a point all parties agreed on during oral arguments this morning (Thursday) in an Anchorage courtroom.

Education commissioner Mike Hanley stepping down

Hannah Colton, KDLG-Dillingham
Mike Hanley is stepping down as Alaska’s education commissioner. Governor Bill Walker announced the leadership change in a press release this [Thursday] morning.  Hanley says it was the decision of the Governor and the State Board of Education, who said they want to steer the Department in a new direction.

New TV series goes inside the yellow tape with Alaska’s plane crash investigators

Lisa Phu, KTOO-Juneau
A new documentary-style series by the Smithsonian Channel goes behind the scenes with investigators trying to figure out why planes crashed near Juneau, Knik Arm and other Alaska locations.

Wal-Mart wouldn’t allow job fair information in store

Elizabeth Jenkins, KTOO-Juneau
Wal-Mart says it’s trying to do right by its soon-to-be-laid-off employees in Juneau. For example, it’s flying in trainers to help with job skills. But it’s also sticking to a corporate policy when it comes to not promoting a job fair organized by the state.

Hanley’s departure comes at critical time for Mt. Edgecumbe

Emily Kwong, KCAW

Education Commissioner Mike Hanley’s departure comes at a critical time for Mt. Edgecumbe, the state run boarding school in Sitka. The Alaska Native Science and Engineering Program is interested in piloting an accelerated, STEM-focused high school on the campus. As details of that proposed takeover unfold, Mt. Edgecumbe administration was looking to Hanley as one of their defenders.

Kenai school district wants new school for Kachemak-Selo

Daysha Eaton, KBBI-Homer
A new school for the town of Kachemak-Selo is at the top of the Kenai Peninsula School District’s list of funding requests to the legislature. But with the state in financial crisis due to declining oil revenue, their request may go unmet.

Purse upped for Kuskokwim 300

Anna Rose MacArthur, KYUK – Bethel
The Kuskokwim 300 sled dog race committee has once again raised its purse. Anna Rose MacArthur reports, the race holds the second highest purse in the state for sled dog racing, behind the Iditarod.