Dave Donaldson, APRN - Juneau

ddonaldson (at) alaskapublic (dot) org | 907.586.6948 | About Dave

Very few people know the ins and outs of the state legislature in Juneau as well as APRN’s Dave Donaldson. He was hired in 1991 to cover state politics for APRN and has now logged an impressive 22 legislative sessions. He arrived in Juneau from North Carolina, thinking he would only stay one year. But like many Alaskans, he fell in love with the state, and Juneau, almost instantly.

Legislators today started looking at what might be in the state’s future when Congress decides it’s time to reorganize the nation’s military.

The National Marine Fisheries Service has not followed through on its findings that two species of seals should be listed under the Endangered Species Act. The Center for Biological Diversity Wednesday asked the Federal Courts to order a specific date by which bearded and ringed seals be listed.

The Alaska Energy Authority and the Department of Natural Resources today released a 144-page study that shows information currently available from across the state on sites containing usable quantities of fossil fuels and geothermal energy.

It joins two other volumes published by the Energy Authority that show likely sources of renewable energy that could be used by communities.

Governor Parnell’s staff is standing by a decision not to preserve or make public any information sent as text messages – from one cell phone to another. The practice was revealed a month ago in a story done by the Anchorage Daily News in which a former Parnell employee charged that text messages were used to avoid public disclosure of what might otherwise be available for scrutiny.

Marathon says it is not violating its agreement and has already begun transferring gas to the facility.

A problem has come up between Marathon Oil and Enstar, Anchorage’s gas utility, over filling the Cook Inlet Gas storage facility – and the price for the gas that goes into it.

"Whether the oil companies or Alaska likes it or not, the North Slope gas is a stranded asset."

One of the pillars of Alaska’s philanthropic community died yesterday at her home in Anchorage.

The Parnell Administration is beginning to consider what needs to be done with the state’s tax on gas production. Currently it is coupled with the oil tax regime, but legislators were told today that it’s time to begin planning a new system to encourage gasline development for in-state use – as well as for export.

Pt. Thomson is key to gas development on the North Slope with twenty five percent of the known resources that could go to market.

The committee that handles the year-round business affairs of the legislature approved money for an in-depth inspection and report on the structural integrity of the state Capitol in Juneau on Wednesday. The Legislative Council agreed to pay $149,000 for design development to follow up on studies done in 2006 and 2010. Those studies found problems with the old masonry and were heightened recently when a legislative staff employee was nearly hit by a falling piece of the building.

The goal is to get as many Alaskans as possible involved in a conversation about the budget.

The public interest group wants to keep fractious partisan politics from becoming a part of the Alaska political scene.

Streur says no departmental program has been short-funded in order to pay the fine.

Students in Alaska’s traditional high schools have made improvement in fourteen of the twenty risk categories that are considered by the federal Center for Disease Control. Statistically they showed no change in four categories. And the only component in which they showed an increase was the use of condoms.

The ballots closed just a few minutes ago in the final formality before next month’s primary elections. Candidates who had filed to run in the party races had until 5:00 p.m. Wednesday to remove their names from consideration. Since the election season began, 11 people have backed out of running – and two have been refused a spot on the ballot.

Legislators began looking for ways to help lower energy costs for Alaskans on Wednesday, but they aren’t finding many options yet. The Senate Energy Working Group Chairman Bill Wielechowski, an Anchorage Democrat, said the first of several anticipated hearings will address questions that frequently come up.

The state would be allowed to freeze its student proficiency targets –formally referred to as Annual Measurable Objectives -- for one year if Alaska commits to applying for a larger package of waivers by September sixth.

Where the budget’s breakeven point for 2012 was about $85 a barrel, a $93 oil market price is good. But with the 2013 budget’s breakeven point of $104 a barrel , that same price is troubling. Download Audio