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Liz Ruskin, APRN

lruskin (at) alaskapublic (dot) org  | About Liz

Obama to Talk Climate, Reveal New Alaska Policies

To a president calling for global action on climate change, Alaska is one big show-and-tell exhibit. Exit Glacier is on the presidential itinerary next week, and Obama is expected to announce new Alaska initiatives related to climate.

August 28, 2015
Anchorage Mayor: Obama Visit to Cause ‘Minimal Disruption’ Downtown

Anchorage Mayor: Obama Visit to Cause ‘Minimal Disruption’ Downtown

Mayor Berkowitz today announced which street will close for security. He said residents should be flexible when visiting downtown for the first half of the week, but he says the event won’t shut down commerce.

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August 27, 2015
Walker Hopes to Reframe POTUS Perspective

Walker Hopes to Reframe POTUS Perspective

President Obama’s visit to Alaska is now less than a week away, and he’s not the only one with an agenda for his trip.
“It’s an exciting time for Alaska. We don’t have a lot of presidents who stop here unless they’re low of fuel,” Gov. Walker says.

August 25, 2015
Coast Guard Commandant Paul Zukunft. Photo: KRBD

Coast Guard Boss: Ahoy! Icebreakers on Budget Horizon

The head of the U.S. Coast Guard says lawmakers and the national security staff are waking up to the need for more icebreakers as the Arctic opens to increased ship traffic.

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August 6, 2015
Sen. Lisa Murkowski Photo: KTOO - Juneau.

Murkowski’s Planned Parenthood Vote Has Left Seething, Right Unmoved

Reaction to Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s ‘yes’ vote, in favor of moving a bill to defund Planned Parenthood, is ricocheting around Alaska and social media. Alaskans who support abortion rights feel burned while conservatives aren’t giving Murkowski much credit for it.

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August 4, 2015
Alaska Exempt From New Federal Clean Power Rules, For Now

Alaska Exempt From New Federal Clean Power Rules, For Now

The White House and the EPA today released the final version of its rule to cut carbon emissions from power plants. The administration’s Clean Power Plan sets targets that states have to meet and requires them to submit plans detailing how they will acheive them. But Alaska will not have to comply with new mandates, at least not yet.

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August 3, 2015

Murkowski Votes to Move Planned Parenthood Defunding Bill

A bill to defund Planned Parenthood failed a procedural vote in the U.S. Senate today. Sen. Dan Sullivan is a co-sponsor. Sen. Lisa Murkowski voted to advance the defunding measure also, but she says she doesn’t want to see Planned Parenthood’s funding removed without an investigation.

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August 3, 2015

Alaska power plants exempt from new greenhouse gas emission rules

Alaska will be exempt from new federal rules aimed at cutting greenhouse-gas emissions from power plants. Sen. Lisa Murkowski says she got word Monday in a phone call from EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy.

August 3, 2015

Alaska senators vote in favor of highway bill

Congress has averted a crisis in U.S. Highway funding. The Senate passed a House bill on Thursday to keep the highway program afloat until at least Halloween.

July 31, 2015
Tale of 2 Murkowski Bills: Bipartisan and Not

Tale of 2 Murkowski Bills: Bipartisan and Not

Sen. Lisa Murkowski passed two major bills out of the Senate Energy Committee today, each containing priorities she’s been working on since she became the panel’s chairman. One passed on a strict party-line vote while the other passed overwhelmingly, but each bill reflects elements of the senator’s legislative style.

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July 30, 2015

Alaska Senators No Fans of Iran Deal

The Obama administration faced a tough crowd this morning as it defended its nuclear agreement with Iran in Congress. Both of Alaska’s senators are among the chorus of lawmakers who say the deal is bad for the U.S.

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July 29, 2015

Murkowski Fends Off Thorny Add-Ons to Energy Bill

U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s big energy policy bill, if it passes, would be the first since 2007. Several national energy bills have washed up on the rocks since then. Murkowski’s strategy is to keep controversies out of the package, and it was tested at a Senate Energy Committee meeting this morning.

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July 28, 2015
VA Secretary to Visit 49th State

VA Secretary to Visit 49th State

Alaska can expect another high-level Washington visitor next month. The Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Robert McDonald, plans to come to the state for several days starting Aug. 11.

July 28, 2015
Rep. Don Young (Photo: Facebook)

Young Votes Yes, Meant No, on Bill Gutting GMO Labeling Laws

The U.S. House today passed a bill to gut state labeling laws for GMO foods. Alaska Congressman Don Young voted for the bill, which he says he did by mistake.

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July 23, 2015

2nd Murkowski Energy Bill Has Controversies Lacking in 1st

Yesterday Sen. Lisa Murkowski introduced an energy bill that steered clear of hot-button issues to ensure Democratic support. Today, the Alaska Republican sponsored a separate energy bill of just hot buttons.

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July 23, 2015

Murkowski Energy Bill Avoids Hot Buttons

Sen. Lisa Murkowski today released a national energy policy bill. It’s been one of her highest priorities as chairman of the Senate Energy Committee, and she produced the bill jointly with the top Democrat on the committee, Maria Cantwell of Washington. Murkowski says it required compromise; the bill doesn’t include some of the big items on Murkowski’s energy agenda.

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July 22, 2015
Saxman: Call us ‘Rural’

Saxman: Call us ‘Rural’

The Southeast village of Saxman took its fight to be designated a “rural” community to Congress today. Saxman Village President Lee Wallace told a House subcommittee he was devastated in 2007, when he watched the Federal Subsistence Board decide Saxman was “non-rural.”

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July 22, 2015
Sen. Murkowski delivered a floor speech today in opposition to the proposal to sell oil from the
SPR to partially pay for the Senate highway bill. Photo: Office of Senator Lisa Murkowski.

Murkowski balks at funding source in highway bill

The deadline for renewing the nation’s highway programs is nine days away. Leaders in the Senate this week negotiated a bill that would fund highways for the next six years. But it would require selling off $9 billion of crude oil that’s stashed in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.

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July 22, 2015
Gen. Mark Milley is nominated for Army Chief of Staff. (Photo: U.S. Army)

General Says Decision on JBER Cuts Not Final Without Arctic Plan

The general nominated to be the Army’s Chief of Staff suggested this morning that the plan to cut 2,600 Alaska soldiers isn’t final yet. But it’s hard to say whether the Army really plans to reconsider, or whether the general merely agreed to follow a procedure to ultimately reach a pre-determined end.

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July 21, 2015

Senate Ed Bill Bolsters Role of Alaska Tribes

An education bill the U.S. Senate passed last week includes several provisions that boost the role of Alaska Native tribes, and a new grant program for Native language immersion programs.

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July 20, 2015