APRN News – Alaska Politics
Gov. Bill Walker named his new rural affairs adviser Tuesday at the Alaska Federation of Natives winter retreat in Kotzebue. Gerad Godfrey’s full title is “Senior Advisor on Rural Business and Intergovernmental Affairs” — a title that Godfrey says is meant to communicate that much of his work will focus on economic development in villages and bringing tribes to the table when the state consults local governments.
After President Barack Obama announced a plan to designate most of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge as wilderness, Alaska lawmakers seized a chance to meet his Interior Secretary on their own turf. A team of nine legislators took a break from session work in Juneau to travel to Kotzebue this week to confront Sally Jewell about those actions. But while the meeting was hyped, neither the delegation nor the Secretary described it as a showdown.
Beyond filing lawsuits and requesting meetings with administration officials, there’s little Alaska’s legislative or executive branches can do to influence President Barack Obama’s approach to the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
State Superior Court judge John Suddock will decide on Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest’s complaint against the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services.
Jewell, Governor, Delegation Gather in Northwest Arctic Borough; Mushing Legend Attla Dies; House GOP Expresses Doubt on Medicaid Expansion; Group Opposes Changes to Judicial Council; Anchorage Moving Ahead on Software System; AK Artist Bill Berry’s Work Displayed for First Time; YK Health Corp Wants New Center; Dr. Ted Mala Interview
Instead of Juneau or Anchorage. For two days, the Northwest Arctic Borough is suddenly Alaska’s seat of power, with the governor, the lieutenant governor, the whole congressional delegation, and 10 legislators all descending on the region. But the most high-profile visitor is Sally Jewell, Secretary of the Interior and a member of President Barack Obama’s cabinet.
House Republicans expressed skepticism over Governor Walker’s plan to expand Medicaid in a hearing this morning. The subcommittee hearing of the House Health and Social Services Committee was the first chance for lawmakers to publicly question Health Commissioner Valerie Davidson on the subject.
A statewide group is fighting a proposed change in Alaska’s judge selection process pushed by a Fairbanks Senator.
A statewide group is fighting a proposed change in Alaska’s judge selection process pushed by a Fairbanks Senator. “Justice Not Politics Alaska” director Heather Arnett says the group is opposed to Republican Pete Kelly’s resolution, which proposes doubling the number of public members appointed by the governor, to the Judicial Council, which selects state judge candidates.
Gov. Bill Walker has introduced legislation clarifying the powers of the attorney general when settling litigation related to Alaska’s oil and gas resources.
The bill lays out the state’s values concerning the Arctic, and provides a general sense of direction for how lawmakers would like to see it developed.
Sec. of State John Kerry’s agenda these days is dominated by the world’s hot spots: Iran, Syria, Ukraine, Yemen. U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski met with him this week to move his focus to a cold spot: the Arctic. “The secretary is very focused on issues as they relate to climate, so that aspect of the Arctic, I think it’s fair to say, he is engaged, ” she said after the meeting. “I don’t think that he has the bigger Arctic picture, the other Arctic pictures.”
The Haines Borough Police Department and dispatch services could face a dramatic funding loss under Gov. Bill Walker’s proposed budget. It would eliminate funding the state Department of Corrections, or DOC, gives each year to law enforcement in 15 small communities. That funding is meant to help communities run local jails, but in Haines it supports more than that.
Right now, the Legislature is facing a deficit that some leaders are describing as a “$4 billion problem.” With oil prices half what they were a year ago, lawmakers are having to cut agency budgets for the first time in years. Today, the finance committees in the House and the Senate held their first hearings on the operating budget. APRN’s Alexandra Gutierrez was there, and joins us to talk about the Legislature’s approach.
Alaska raised writer David Holthouse has told his story of being sexually abused as a child before. It’s appeared in newspapers, on the radio and on stage in New York City.
But when he spoke in the Alaska Capitol building today, it was to support Erin’s Law, a bill that would require public schools statewide to provide age-appropriate K-12 sexual abuse education.
Funding for the Department of Homeland Security will run out February 27, unless Congress can resolve an impasse over immigration policy riders the House included in its funding bill. Alaska Sen. Dan Sullivan today stood with conservative lawmakers, including Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, calling on the Senate to pass the House bill.
For over a hundred years, presidents have used the Antiquities Act to order permanent protections for federal land and resources at sea. Now, Alaska’s congressional delegation is looking to curb that authority.
Gov. Bill Walker has announced that on Friday, he will drop his Point Thomson lawsuit against the state and instead try to address his concerns with the settlement through a piece of legislation. It’s exactly what legislative leaders have been calling on him to do for the past two weeks. But the way Walker went about it left some of those same lawmakers less than amused.