Alexandra Gutierrez, APRN - Juneau
agutierrez (at) alaskapublic (dot) org | 907.209.1799 | About Alexandra
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.
The compensation bill was approved unanimously and now needs a vote from the House.
For nearly a year, a group made up of lawmakers, mental health advocates, and Native leaders have been working on a strategy to bring down the number of babies born with the disorder.
A group of Democratic lawmakers is pushing an amendment to enshrine the Permanent Fund dividend in the Alaska Constitution.
Every year, politicians struggle with how much money to put toward public education. Now, they’re asking another question: Who should pay for it? One legislator is making the case that local governments shouldn’t be obligated to contribute to school budgets.
Many of the arguments against SJR9 focused on school vouchers. While the measure would not create a voucher system, it would enable lawmakers to set one up if they desired.
After a year of meetings, the Legislature’s Arctic Policy Commission is rolling out its strategy for the region.
The draft report is over 100 pages, and it offers recommendations on how to manage maritime commerce and resource development in the Arctic, how to improve emergency response, and how to include the state’s indigenous population in policy decisions.
A bill that would reject pay raises for the governor and his commissioners is on track to get a vote in the Senate. The Senate Finance Committee advanced the bill on Friday.
Under AGIA, TransCanada was licensed to basically advance a project on Alaska’s behalf. The Parnell administration is now pursuing what they’re describing as a more traditional commercial agreement, where the state and the North Slope producers are partners in a project with roughly similar ownership shares.
Criminal justice reform may be coming to Alaska. After spending the summer collecting more information on efforts happening in other parts of the country, the Senate Judiciary Committee has started holding hearings again on their omnibus crime bill.
With education being a hot issue this legislative session, some politicians are looking at the basics of learning in their effort to improve student outcomes. Today, the Senate Education Committee held its first hearing on a bill that would establish a reading program targeted at kindergarteners through third graders.
Gov. Parnell’s bill taxes natural gas at a rate of 10.5 percent starting in 2022. It allows for those taxes to be directly paid in gas instead of money. It expands the powers of the natural resources commissioner and the revenue commissioner to work out a deal with all the other parties involved.
Gov. Sean Parnell introduced his education package Friday, and inside is a small increase to the school funding formula.
That increase would come through the “base student allocation,” which is the amount of money a school gets for each child enrolled.
With school districts working on their budgets and teacher layoffs looming, the potential change in the base student allocation is the most talked about portion of the governor’s education package. But part of the bill that has the most political momentum is a section that would repeal the high school exit exam that students need to graduate.
During the State of the State address on Wednesday night, Parnell laid out an agenda that was friendly to the school choice movement, and he made a commitment to increase school funding if it passes.