Alaska Politics

Political news coverage from the Alaska Public Radio Network.

The Alaska House plans to continue pursuing a legal challenge to Gov. Bill Walker's authority to expand Medicaid on his own.

It’s been more than two weeks since the Legislature was scheduled to finish its session. But not only have lawmakers not finished their work, there’s been little progress recently – at least in public. There have been no public meetings on the contentious oil and gas tax bill. And no recent meetings on the state budget or making changes to the Permanent Fund.

The Legislative Council approved spending up to $12.5 million to buy the Walls Fargo Bank building in Anchorage’s Spenard neighborhood on Monday. The building would be used for legislative offices and to provide a venue for public testimony.

The Juneau Assembly approved new guidelines for a city pot license on Monday. Those seeking to cultivate commercial marijuana will have to apply for the $250 license, in addition to state’s.

The Alaska Republican Party wants to require drug testing for welfare recipients. That’s one of the new planks it added to the party platform at its convention in Fairbanks over the weekend.

While Republicans nationally are divided for and against Donald Trump, the discord at the state convention in Fairbanks this weekend had a more local flavor. New party chairman Tuckerman Babcock asked fellow Republicans to let go of their grudges, which weren't far below the surface.

Lawmakers found they had less room and not enough desks or phones to go around on Monday. That’s because they’re sharing space in Juneau’s Bill Ray Center while the Capitol is being renovated.

The board tasked with regulating Alaska's nascent marijuana industry has approved draft regulations for how customers will be allowed to consume pot they buy in certain retail stores on site.

Tuckerman Babcock, a long-time Republican strategist and former aide to Gov. Wally Hickel, is the new chairman of the Alaska Republican Party.

The state Republican Convention started this afternoon in Fairbanks. We sent APRN reporter Liz Ruskin to check it out. Download Audio

If Donald Trump doesn’t have the presidential nomination in the bag by July, the Republican National Convention could be the most exciting in decades. Twenty-eight Alaskans get to participate, and this week Alaska Republicans will choose who gets to go to Cleveland. Download Audio

The types of oil and gas companies that would benefit from state tax credits would change, under a bill the House Rules Committee unveiled Tuesday. Governor Bill Walker says he’s concerned about these changes. The bill also received a cool reception from industry. But it may be the best chance to resolve one of the thorniest issues facing the state. Download Audio

The Legislature didn’t take any actions Monday as it began the second week after the scheduled end of the session. But Senate President Kevin Meyer said he’d like to see the Legislature complete its work soon. Download Audio

An independent report on the University of Alaska Fairbanks failed handling of sexual assault cases was released Friday. The review done by Anchorage attorney Jeff Feldman confirms that UAF failed to pursue policy dictated disciplinary action against perpetrators in five cases from 2011 into 2014.

The Alaska Senate has reversed course, accepting House changes to an alcohol bill that added provisions related to the Board of Barbers and Hairdressers. Download Audio

The U.S. Senate is the final resting place for a lot of legislation, but today it passed a broad energy bill. It's passage is a political coup for its sponsor, Sen. Lisa Murkowski, who says she had lots of co-authors. Download Audio

The U.S. Senate this morning passed Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s energy modernization bill, by a vote of 85-12.

State workers wouldn’t see pay hikes based on experience until oil prices rise sharply, under a bill introduced Monday in the House. Download Audio

The Legislature didn’t finish its work in time for the scheduled end of the session Sunday, but it became clear that the largest stumbling block is how much and how quickly to scale back tax credits for the oil and gas industry.

Since 2008, Alaska's Renewable Energy Fund has supported scores of projects around the state. But so far, it has not been included in this year's budget. Download Audio