Andrew Kitchenman, APRN & KTOO - Juneau

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Cannabis Plant. (Photo by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)

Marijuana businesses are scheduled to open in June, after the state issues licenses. But there’s a hitch – the state won’t issue licenses until the Legislature passes a bill that allows for national criminal background checks, among other provisions. And that bill is currently in limbo.

Governor Bill Walker says the Legislature must agree to a complete and sustainable solution to the state’s fiscal problem this year. In a letter to legislators Walker sent yesterday (Wednesday), he says continuing to draw on reserves without a solid plan to stop doing so is unacceptable. Download Audio
Alaska News Nightly by Alaska Public Media

A bill to revise oil and gas tax credits from the House Resources Committee includes only a fraction of the savings Governor Bill Walker proposed. Download Audio

A proposal to allow state government to dip into Permanent Fund earnings is advancing in the Legislature. The Senate Finance Committee heard details Tuesday from Anchorage Republican Senator Lesil McGuire. Download Audio

The House Resources Committee unveiled its version of an overhaul of the state’s oil and gas tax credits. Download Audio

The Department of Revenue released a forecast today showing the state will bring in 800 million dollars less in oil revenue this year and next than the department projected in the fall. Download Audio

It may be a while before ice road truckers become ice road computers. But one of Google’s top lobbyists was in Juneau Thursday to talk about driver-less cars. Google state legislative affairs representative Ron Barnes wouldn’t commit to bringing autonomous vehicles to the Alaska anytime soon, saying that Google’s engineers determine where the company tests its cars. Download Audio
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Rural Alaskans can pay three to five times as much for electricity than those in urban areas. That’s why the state launched the Power Cost Equalization Endowment Fund in 2000. It’s paid roughly $40 million annually to subsidize rural energy bills. Download Audio

As the state legislature begins the final month of the session- one big question is looming: How are lawmakers going to pay for the budget? Download Audio

The Alaska Senate voted today on a state budget with 63 million dollars more in cuts than the House budget passed last week. Download Audio

Alaska could join the other states in linking insurance premiums to personal credit ratings.

Governor Bill Walker is seeking to streamline three state agencies responsible for financing economic development, housing, and renewable energy. He signed an administrative order Thursday requiring the Alaska Housing Finance Corporation, Alaska Energy Authority, and Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority to find opportunities to become more efficient or consolidate.

The path to setting Alaska’s state government budget enters a new phase this week, as both legislative chambers prepare to vote on different versions of the spending plan. As the House heads into a debate on the budget Thursday, it’s eyeing a proposal that includes a 280 million-dollar reduction from last year. Download Audio

Governor Bill Walker is seeking to streamline state agencies responsible for financing economic development, housing, and renewable energy. He signed an administrative order Thursday requiring the Alaska Housing Finance Corporation, Alaska Energy Authority, and Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority to find opportunities to become more efficient or consolidate. Download Audio

Senators are working on a bill that would overhaul Alaska’s criminal justice system. The measure would reduce arrests and prison time for nonviolent offenses. It also would help prisoners re-enter society. But victim’s rights advocates and some legislators have raised concerns about the legislation. Download Audio

The House Finance Committee sent its budget proposal to the House floor Wednesday. Including some late changes, the budget would cut spending by 280 million dollars. It also spends 225 million in funds left from the current budget. Download Audio

Governor Bill Walker named Ivy Spohnholz Tuesday as his choice to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Representative Max Gruenberg in February. Download Audio

The House passed a bill Monday that provides civil immunity to those who give an antidote to reverse overdoses from heroin and other opioid drugs. Anchorage Democratic Senator Johnny Ellis sponsored the bill. This made it unusual, since few bills sponsored by members of the minority party ever come up for votes.
Sen. Peter Micciche speaks on the floor of the Alaska Senate, Feb. 10, 2014. (Photo by Skip Gray/Gavel Alaska)

The Senate Finance Committee has been weighing a wide-ranging bill to overhaul Medicaid in Alaska. One provision is aimed at curbing the abuse of opioid drugs. Download Audio

As legislators make cuts to the state’s budget, they’re looking to draw money from various state funds to cover costs. But some of these changes are raising concerns. The House Finance Committee is considering a budget bill that would cut state government spending 418 million dollars more than the 100 million in cuts Governor Bill Walker proposed. Download Audio