Alexandra Gutierrez, APRN - Juneau
agutierrez (at) alaskapublic (dot) org | 907.209.1799 | About Alexandra
After sitting in limbo for nearly a year, a controversial permitting bill is on the move again. House Bill 77 has been sent back to the Senate Resources Committee, and it’s scheduled for hearings on Monday and Wednesday.
Last year, HB77 stalled in part because its opponents were vocal. People packed town hall meetings to tell their legislators to fight it, and tribes across the state passed resolutions asking for a “no” vote. But how widespread was that opposition? The Hays Group released a poll this week the gauges public sentiment on the bill.
Throughout his administration, Gov. Sean Parnell has accused the Environmental Protection Agency of “overreaching” on Alaska affairs. Now, it looks like the EPA may have reached into Parnell’s own home. The Governor’s Mansion appears on a list of construction projects requiring EPA intervention for lead violations.
For nearly 40 years, ferry workers who are Alaska residents have gotten a cost-of-living adjustment, allowing them to be paid more than those who don’t live in the state. Now, a bill getting rid of that salary bonus is moving through the Legislature. And the way it’s advanced has raised hackles.
Down in Idaho, college students are protesting a bill that would allow guns on campus. Here in Alaska, they’re drafting the legislation.
Starting this year, foreign nationals who wish to drive in Alaska may be getting more scrutiny when they go to the DMV. A bill pegging the expiration date of a driver’s license to a person’s immigration status is now on its way to the governor’s desk.
A bill that puts restrictions on Medicaid payments for abortions narrowly passed its final committee of review in the State Legislature. It advanced without any money for family planning services.
After being shelved for nearly a year, a bill meant to limit Medicaid payouts for abortion is back – and it’s missing a component that made it more agreeable to the Legislature’s social moderates.
While the proposals take different approaches, both seek to raise the tax rate at higher oil prices.
In 1998, Alaska became the first state to put a ban on same-sex marriage into its constitution. Now, the minority leader in the State Senate wants to get rid of that ban.
The State Supreme Court reaffirmed on Wednesday that the Trans-Alaska Pipeline is worth $10 billion.
In her annual address before the State Legislature on Wednesday, Murkowski described the Interior Department’s decision to block the project as “heartless and wrong.” She says it’s an extreme case of federal overreach.
The bill would set up a 24-hour crisis line for patients and establish an administrative appeal process. Mental health facilities would be required to employ patient advocates and to use the same type of complaint forms.
A bill that would save military spouses the trouble of going to the DMV has triggered an unlikely battle over gay rights in the state legislature.
A group of Republican state senators want to change the make-up of a commission tasked with vetting judges for the governor. But some critics worry that could shift the balance of the judicial system itself.
Former territorial governor Mike Stepovich died early this morning, after being injured in a fall. Stepovich served as governor in the late 1950s and was a major advocate for Alaska statehood. He was 94 when he died. Stepovich was born into a Fairbanks mining family. Alaska Edition host and Anchorage Daily News columnist Michael Carey was a teenager when Stepovich was Governor. He says Stepovich was a strikingly handsome man who was Governor at at critical time in Alaska history.
In 2013, the state paid nearly a million dollars for lawmakers to fly across Alaska, across the country, and in some cases, around the world. APRN’s Alexandra Gutierrez reports that legislative travel costs went up nearly 50 percent last year.
The State of the Judiciary address can sometimes be a lofty affair, where the head of the State Supreme Court sets out a vision for what justice in Alaska should look like. This year, Alaska Supreme Chief Justice Dana Fabe delved into more pragmatic concerns, like the effect of declining revenues on the state legal system.