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Alexandra Gutierrez, APRN - Anchorage

agutierrez (at) alaskapublic (dot) org | 907.209.1799 | About Alexandra

House Speaker Mike Chenault stepped down from the dais Sunday, April 13, 2014, to speak out against minimum wage ballot organizer Ed Flanagan's holding of a dollar symbol sign in committee, and the perception of corruption it could have implied. (Photo by Skip Gray/Gavel Alaska)

House Passes Minimum Wage Bill, As Initiative Sponsors Cry Foul

As initiative supporters cried dirty tricks, the House narrowly passed a minimum wage bill that has the potential to knock their proposition off the ballot. The night only got more tense when the Speaker of the House fired back on the floor.

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April 13, 2014

Legislature Passes Bill Limiting Medicaid Payments For Abortion

The bill defines the term “medically necessary,” so it only covers physical harm – not psychological harm. Critics believe it will make it harder for low-income women to have access to abortion.

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April 13, 2014

Parnell Reintroduces Retirement Plan

The Legislature has made little progress on Gov. Sean Parnell’s goal of addressing the state’s looming retirement problem. Parnell hopes to change that by filing a bill that reintroduces his plan to deal with Alaska’s $12 billion unfunded liability.

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April 11, 2014

Final Vote On Abortion Bill Delayed After Divisive Amendment Process

The Alaska State House opened debate on a bill putting limits on state Medicaid payments for abortions on Thursday, only to shelve it and delay a final vote to Sunday.

April 10, 2014

Microphones Cut During Senate Hearing On Oil Production

After rejecting a request that oil industry experts be required to testify under oath, the Senate Resources Chair cut off microphones when the Minority Leader attempted to explain why he thought the request was appropriate.

April 9, 2014

State Senators Prefer To Leave Minimum Wage Question On Ballot

While a minimum wage bill that could pre-empt a ballot initiative is on the fast track in the Alaska State House, Senate leadership says the idea unlikely to get traction in their body.

April 9, 2014

State Suspends Funding For New Anchorage Tennis Complex

The State is looking into the legality of using money earmarked for building repairs to construct a new tennis complex in Anchorage. The multi-million-dollar grant was suspended after Mayor Dan Sullivan’s opponent in the lieutenant governor’s race called the decision into question.

April 9, 2014
(Skip Gray/Gavel Alaska)

Sponsor Of Judicial Council Amendment Set On Getting Floor Debate

The sponsor of a constitutional amendment to reconfigure the Judicial Council says he wants a vote on the bill, even if the outcome is not guaranteed to be favorable.

April 9, 2014

Amendment To Restructure Judicial Council Stalls Before Vote

A constitutional amendment that would reconfigure a commission tasked with vetting judges was pulled from a vote in the Alaska Senate on Monday after struggling to pick up the necessary support.

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April 8, 2014

House Strikes Retirement Plan, Funding Formula Change From Education Bill

The Alaska House of Representative passed a sweeping education bill Monday night, but only after removing some of its more contentious elements and adding another pot of education funding.

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April 8, 2014

Rural Legislators Wary Of Change To School Funding Formula

With the Alaska House of Representatives set to vote on an omnibus education bill Monday night, rural legislators are prepared to fight a change to the funding formula included in the legislation.

April 7, 2014
With Education Vote Postponed, Parent Group Rallies For More School Funding

With Education Vote Postponed, Parent Group Rallies For More School Funding

The Alaska State House has delayed its vote on an omnibus education bill to Monday, giving lawmakers more time to wrestle with questions over teacher retirement policy and treatment of rural schools. But even though debate on the bill was delayed, that did not stop a crowd of parents from gathering on the Capitol steps to rally for more education funding.

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April 4, 2014

Minimum Wage Bill Introduced Amid Sponsor Outcry

A bill that could supplant the minimum wage initiative has popped up in the Legislature. Initiative organizers strongly oppose any effort to pre-empt their initiative out of concern the Legislature might try to water it down.

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April 4, 2014

Lawmakers Shelve Controversial Permitting Bill

With the end of session looming, lawmakers found the bill was simply too complex and too polarizing to advance.

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April 3, 2014

As Education Bill Nears Vote, Lawmakers Brace For Funding Fight

On Friday, state representatives will vote on a sprawling education bill that deals with everything from school budges to teacher tenure to the establishment of charter schools. Some lawmakers are already preparing for a marathon session.

April 3, 2014

Legislature Scraps Deal To Buy Anchorage LIO

A deal to buy the Anchorage Legislative Information Office building for $28 million is officially off the table. Rep. Mike Hawker, an Anchorage Republican, made the announcement early Thursday morning, at a six-minute meeting of the Legislative Council.

April 3, 2014

Legislature’s Exit Time Could Shift Initiative Scheduling

Between a contested Senate primary and a mess of ballot questions, the August election is expected to be particularly lively. But a set of unusual circumstances and odd timing has the potential to knock all but one of the citizen measures to the November general election, if the Legislature gavels out late.

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April 2, 2014

House Speaker Proposes Exception To Residency Rule For Gasline Board Appointees

Amid controversy over whether the non-residents can legally serve on state commissions, the Speaker of the Alaska State House is proposing a policy change that explicitly carves out an exception for the board that could oversee development of a natural gas pipeline.

March 31, 2014

Senate Passes Bill To Limit Access To Certain Court Records

If you’ve ever been charged with a crime in Alaska, it’s documented in an online database called “Courtview” that anyone can check. Landlords use it. Employers use it. Some people even use it use it while dating to see if their romantic partner has a criminal history. Soon, those searches could be limited to only cases where a guilty verdict has been reached.

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March 28, 2014

Senate Panel Proposes $100 Million In One-Time Education Funding

While the Legislature is still hammering out how much money to put toward the base student allocation, the Senate Finance Committee has included a major injection of funds in their version of the operating budget.

March 28, 2014