Andrew Kitchenman, Alaska Public Media & KTOO - Juneau
The Senate passed an earlier version of the bill, which would have repealed the conflict of interest provisions entirely. The House passed its own version. A conference committee agreed on the compromise Monday.
The Alaska Legislature confirmed 82 other members to state boards and commissions during a joint session.
The closest votes were for Public Safety Commissioner Amanda Price and Health and Social Services Commissioner Adam Crum.
The first-year cost is closer to $3 million if the state rents office space instead of building new facilities, analysts find.
Under a measure backed by Gov. Mike Dunleavy, Medicaid would pay the insurance premiums for the people who are shifted over to the private health insurance market.
The Alaska House passed a budget on Thursday that includes $257 million in cuts to the portion of the state budget the Legislature directly controls.
Sen. Natasha von Imhof says the combination of splitting the Alaska Permanent Fund draw and limiting spending would allow PFDs to grow over time.
Gov. Mike Dunleavy said state lawmakers aren’t moving fast enough to pass his big priorities this session. That’s not just an idle threat — Dunleavy has constitutional powers he can use to force lawmakers into action.
The Alaska House Finance Committee has proposed a budget that reduces state spending by $314 million, less than a third of Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s proposed cut of $1.03 billion. The committee finished its work on Friday, proposing cuts that are much greater than those proposed by House subcommittees.
Rep. Ivy Spohnholz said the department didn’t provide enough information to Chief Procurement Officer Jason Soza for him to be able to adequately review the contract, which would pay Wellpath $225 million over five years.
The House Finance Committee voted Wednesday for an amendment that would stop the state from reimbursing municipalities for existing school bond debt.
Gov. Mike Dunleavy told President Donald Trump in a letter dated March 1 that top federal Medicaid official Seema Verma has urged Alaska to be the first state to receive Medicaid dollars as a block grant.
The state stopped covering 60%-70% of new school bonds beginning in 2015. This moratorium is scheduled to end next year; North Pole Republican Rep. Tammie Wilson has sponsored a bill to keep the moratorium in place.
The Alaska Division of Public Assistance director says the backlog has been shrinking recently, including a large decrease in the past month.
With most of the budget, if the Legislature decides to fund more than what the governor wants, he can use his line-item veto to remove the money. But not in the case of the school funds.
Splitting the draw from permanent fund earnings between government and dividends would make dividends more predictable.
The House Finance subcommittees have proposed a total of $47 million in reductions from the portion of the current budget the Legislature controls.
Sixty-one percent of Alaska medical students who attend the WWAMI program return to Alaska. That’s higher than the national average of graduates who stay in state, but it’s lower than what Alaska lawmakers would like to see.
Governor’s team contrasts 10-year plan and alternatives, but House speaker says message is ill-timed
The plan looks at what the state would spend over the next 10 years if the Legislature adopts all of Dunleavy’s spending proposals — and if lawmakers and Alaskans amend the state constitution to limit spending.
Dunleavy’s office described the events as discussions of the governor’s budget plan and amendment proposals. The next day, Americans for Prosperity Alaska posted online that it was hosting the events, along with terms and conditions for attendees.