Andrew Kitchenman, APRN & KTOO - Juneau

359 POSTS 0 COMMENTS

The Legislature didn’t do much work Friday, as lawmakers moved into their temporary digs in the Bob Ray Center while the Capitol is under construction. When House members return on Monday, they’ll debate whether to overhaul the state’s criminal sentencing laws. Supporters say the legislation will lower the risk of offenders returning to crime, but others are concerned that the bill goes too far in reducing penalties. Download Audio
Governor Bill Walker pictured in April 2016. (Photo by Skip Gray, 360 North)

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

Lawmakers are continuing work in Juneau. The House Rules Committee on Tuesday unveiled the latest attempt to rewrite tax credits for the oil and gas industry. The bill would save the state more money over the next three years than a previous version. But the savings are much less than what Governor Bill Walker proposed. 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

Lawmakers are considering some of the most wide-ranging changes in the history of Alaska finances this year. That’s why the leaders of the House Finance Committee invited Governor Bill Walker and top state officials to talk about their budget plan – especially, the latest proposal to draw from Permanent Fund earnings. Download Audio

The state House and Senate are trying to work out their differences over a bill that would draw money from the Power Cost Equalization Endowment Fund. Download Audio
Gov. Bill Walker, pictured at a press availability on January 28, 2016. (File photo by Skip Gray, 360 North)

Progress on the state government budget has slowed to a crawl this week. But Governor Bill Walker remains hopeful the Legislature can reach an agreement on an oil and gas tax bill that’s at the center of budget talks. Download Audio

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
Rep. Mike Chenault. (Photo by Skip Gray/360 North)

Lawmakers blew through their 90 day session end last night and are back at work today, trying to bring a budget together that all sides can agree to. APRN's Juneau correspondent Andrew Kitchenman joins me now to talk about about the big stumbling blocks are. 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.

Public television would lose its state funding in a budget proposal adopted by the Legislature’s budget conference committee Friday.

The Legislature Friday narrowly approved former Fairbanks North Star Borough Mayor Luke Hopkins to serve on the board responsible for developing the Alaska gas pipeline. Download Audio

The University of Alaska faces a $50 million budget cut, due to a legislative committee vote on Thursday. Download Audio

The Legislature is trying to close the four billion dollar budget deficit this week. But a new report says the burden of closing the gap will fall too heavily on the poorest Alaskans. Download Audio

The House spent six hours debating oil and gas tax credits Tuesday night. And they’re not done yet – lawmakers will pick up the bill again Wednesday. Download Audio

The outlines of changes to the Permanent Fund became clearer today. Senate Finance Committee introduced a bill that would pay for much of the state government’s budget using the Fund’s earnings. It also would reduce residents’ Permanent Fund dividends, but make them more stable for the future. Download Audio

The Senate Finance Committee is looking to re-route money from a fund to offset the high cost of electricity in rural areas. Some Power Cost Equalization money would replace the Community Revenue Sharing program that the state government started when oil prices were higher. Download Audio
Sen. John Coghill, R-North Pole, at a Senate Majority press availability, March 21, 2016. (Photo by Skip Gray/360 North)

The state Senate voted 16-2 on Saturday to pass a bill overhauling Alaska’s criminal justice system. Download Audio

Proposals to spend Permanent Fund earnings on the state budget will be a major focus of the legislative session’s final nine days. Download Audio

The Senate passed a bill Thursday to allow people to carry concealed firearms on University of Alaska campuses. Download Audio