APRN News – Alaska Politics
Nearly two months after its regular deadline, the Alaska Legislature finally gavels out. Both chambers have approved a $5 billion operating budget and agreed on a way to pay for the deficit.
In Congress Thursday morning, a U.S. senator proposed adding nearly a billion dollars to a Defense spending bill to acquire an icebreaker – and that senator was not from Alaska. Sen. Lisa Murkowski is normally an ardent advocate for more icebreaking capacity, but she felt compelled to vote against the icebreaker amendment.
Congressman Don Young’s subcommittee on Native affairs took testimony today on a bill to re-open land allotment selections for Alaska Natives who served in the military during the Vietnam War.
The Alaska House of Representatives has passed an operating budget, signaling the end of a stalemate over the state’s multi-billion-dollar budget deficit.
The National Park Service is not against changing Mount McKinley’s official name to Denali, but Alaskans are still in a battle with Ohioans over the name of North America’s tallest mountain.
The House this week passed a transportation and housing bill. Rep. Don Young says it includes programs important to Alaska aviation, while the White House says it shortchanges homeless programs and transit.
The stalemate finally ended on Wednesday night, when a conference committee between the two bodies agreed to pay for the contracts this year, but placed limits on future increases.
A U.S. Senate committee today heard pleas for better treatment of crime victims in Native communities. Gerad Godfrey, chairman of an Alaska victims’ compensation panel, recommends sexual assault rapid response teams for Alaska villages.
After holding the bill for three weeks, the Senate Finance Committee has unveiled a new version of the Alaska Safe Children’s Act — known nationally as “Erin’s Law.” Some controversial riders have been removed.
Gov. Bill Walker will take a modest step toward streamlining state government by combining two divisions within the state Department of Labor and Workforce Development.
Governor Bill Walker likely has the authority to expand Medicaid without legislative approval, according to two legal opinions written last month.
The move is a blow for legalization advocates in Anchorage, and leaves many regulatory questions unanswered.
A required progress report on the proposed Talkeetna River Dam is overdue, according to the federal agency that licenses large energy projects.
Navy representatives held a community forum in Kodiak yesterday to address concerns about its training in the Gulf of Alaska, which they say begins Monday. They say many people believe this month’s training will include bombs, sonar, and exercises that will disturb commercial fishing, but say much of that is misinformation.
Alaska Congressman Don Young tied the knot today, on his 82nd birthday. Young married 76-year-old Anne Garland Walton, a flight nurse from Fairbanks. She says his birthday cakes will never be the same.
The legislature’s lack of action on a budget is no small potatoes.
Governor Bill Walker gathered Alaska leaders from around the state in Fairbanks over the weekend to talk about state services and how to pay for them. The event called: “Building a Sustainable Future: Conversations With Alaskans” resulted in some clear and predictable messages, but it’s uncertain when or if they will result in legislative action.
Sen. Dan Sullivan is out of the basement. His staff announced today that they’ve moved to their new office location in the nation’s capital, on the 7th floor of the Hart Building.
State services like the pioneers’ home, the aerospace corporation and the agriculture division should be Alaska’s lowest priorities, according to participants in a budget conference held by Gov. Bill Walker.
The two special legislative sessions so far have cost the state at least $430,000, with costs still being tallied.