Alaska Politics

Political news coverage from the Alaska Public Radio Network.

The state Department of Natural Resources has a new commissioner. Download Audio

The head of Alaska’s legal team announced today he is stepping down. Download Audio

After more than two years of working with the big three North Slope oil companies, state officials are proposing Alaska take a larger stake -- or complete control of the project. Download Audio

The proposed Pebble Mine was Exhibit A at a hearing in the U.S. House this morning. The Republican-led hearing was supposed to be a critical look at environmental regulation, but the focus shifted as lawmakers of both parties kept asking the same question: Why hasn’t Pebble filed for its permits yet? Download Audio

State officials said today the administration is considering increasing the state's stake in the project -- or even taking over ownership completely. Download Audio

In his quest to remake Alaska's finances, Governor Bill Walker has found a set of perhaps unexpected allies. Download Audio

In the U.S. Senate today, gun control measures failed to get enough votes to advance. Alaska’s U.S. senators voted with their fellow Republicans, to block the amendments. Sen. Dan Sullivan says the only thing that would have stopped two recent mass murders "is not having the rise of ISIS." Download Audio

Gov. Bill Walker on Sunday called the Legislature back for another special session, after lawmakers failed to restructure Permanent Fund earnings.

The first openly gay bishop will speak in Anchorage this weekend about religion, LGBT issues, and the massacre in Orlando. Download Audio

A bill to restructure Permanent Fund earnings and cut fund dividends died in the House Finance Committee Friday. Download Audio

Alaskans’ Permanent Fund dividends would still be cut, but not as much, under a new version of a bill to restructure fund earnings. Download Audio

U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski, through her assignment on the Appropriations Committee, is charged with writing a bill that funds a wide swath of the federal government. It is a major opportunity to direct money to agencies important to Alaska. The committee passed her bill today, but a Democratic leader says it's unlikely to see the full Senate. Download Audio

Former Anchorage Mayor Dan Sullivan is dropping out of the race for U.S. Senate. He made the announcement just 15 days after he filed to challenge Lisa Murkowski in the Republican Primary. In a press release, Sullivan said conservative leaders, who he did not name, asked him to run just 1 day before the filing deadline. He says there’s “significant” financial support for a conservative candidate, but he says it would be best for him to work on other political issues. Download Audio

At a press conference in Juneau today, Gov. Bill Walker said he understands the position of legislators who are hearing from constituents opposed to cuts to Permanent Fund dividends. Download Audio

The Forest Service has a plan for the Tongass National Forest that would shift loggers away from the harvest of old-growth trees and offer the industry young trees instead. At the U.S. Capitol this week, Sen. Lisa Murkowski and Congressman Don Young are working on separate bills to block the plan. Download Audio

Public testimony leaned against Gov. Bill Walker’s proposal to draw on Permanent Fund earnings to pay for state government.

Since the Senate passed the bill last week that would draw money from the Permanent Fund to pay for state government, two things have happened. One is that many Alaskans have raised concerns with the part of the bill that would cut Permanent Fund dividends in half,( from $2,000 to $1,000). The other is that the bill was sent to the House, where it’s having a harder time moving. In fact, it might not even get out of the Finance Committee. Download Audio

Fitch Ratings announced Tuesday that it is lowering the state's long term credit rating from AAA -- its highest rating -- to AA+, citing the state's massive budget gap. Download Audio

U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski had a chance to flex some legislative muscle today. As chair of an Appropriations subcommittee, Murkowski writes the legislation that sends money to several agencies and tells them how to spend it. Democrats say her bill is loaded with riders that gut environmental protection. Download Audio

The bill that would cut Alaskans’ Permanent Fund dividend checks in half this fall faces a tough legislative test this week. While the Senate passed its version of the bill, Senate Bill 128, the House version, House Bill 245, may not make it through the House Finance Committee. Lawmakers from both ends of the political spectrum are raising concerns with the measure. Download Audio